Responsibility is so often seen as the deadener of desire. Like pouring cold water on burning embers. But yet we all agree that some responsibility is good, some constraint to freedom.
Gravity limits us, but this is largely a good thing, no?
Living so that we don’t harm others is generally accepted as the way to go.
But what about when our harm affects people indirectly? What about our environmental impact on the next generation and the world they live in? What about our unsustainable travelling that doesn’t longterm benefit the local communities we visit?
Well so many of these things I’m still exploring, so here’s a few starters for people who like to learn in different ways:
AUDIO: General discussion on the topic on Radio 4’s “The Moral Maze”
Most of these centres, businesses or communities function on the basis that climate change is real, and that global warming is true. If you’re not (for whatever reason) yet convinced by these premises, then do check out these two websites who collate peer-reviewed research on such things:
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (Tyndall being a good Irishman!)
In particular the BBC article here, links to two research papers.
Here’s a link to one carbon-offsetting business, who take your money and invest it in sustainable projects across the world that take carbon out of the environment in various ways: Carbon calculator
Many of us will find in the early days of exploring this, that cutting flights and other high-carbon use things out of our lives is too hard to completely do it immediately, but may hide temporarily behind carbon off-setting as a means by which to transport ourselves into a more environmentally friendly life. Answers to hard questions about that, can also be found on the website link above.
And of course, my preferred level of exploration: a fun book at a popular level which got me thinking far more: How bad are bananas?
So are responsibilities like this going to deaden our desire for travel?
Well, I could imagine they’ll start reshaping our desires slightly as we grasp such benefits and reap the longterm rewards of responsibility. And so ultimately we’ll leave more fulfilled than before, but only after going through the frustration of holding back somewhat while we learn this way of living of re-channelling desire. I’ve learnt to excite myself with a different way of travel, not to travel less.
And if you decide unfettered freedom is better?
I think you’ll find it to be a cruel master that will still leave you craving for more, and yet remain unsatisfied. If it’s anything like the sexual “liberation” that we’ve encountered in the west, and that many still push for, the results of it have left us having less sex and not enjoying it as much. Or at least that’s according to Esther Perel and her famous TED talk. And not only depriving ourselves of joy, but harming others too.