Evading responsibility

One of the most effective ways to escape obligations to ourselves is to rely on others. Here’s a generic example: I’m working on a project. Part of this project requires significant input from someone else. But this input is either delayed, or turns out to be less than adequate. So the project comes to a stop. The distillation of what we tell ourselves in such scenarios is I can’t X because he/she hasn’t Y.

We choose to interpret this as a critical failing. But in reality it is of marginal importance. There’s always a way around, over or under such obstacles. So what if someone lets us down? So what if someone doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do when they’ve promised to? People the world over get burned and still produce, still ship. Sure, it might mean some extra work. But rarely does it mean the complete collapse of progress.

In fact, relying on others is more than just a way to avoid obligations. It’s a way to avoid taking any responsibility at all. If my ability to make something good is dependent on others, it’s their fault if it turns out badly. If I tell myself that I need someone else to be happy, it’s that person who stands in the way of my satisfaction and fulfilment. If I persuade myself that I need a particular person to do X, it’s their fault if I don’t get it done. 

Reliance on others is a simple, subtle and sinister strategy that allows me to relinquish responsibility for the attainment of progress and prosperity and lay my failings at the feet of someone else. It’s an approach that allows me to glide through life, avoiding the burdens that responsibility and clarity of perception impose.