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Around The Sun: Learning To Be Responsible

Steve Harrison learns a beautiful truth.

Sigmund Freud, Karl Jung, John Paul Sartre… I’ve read lots of books about psychology and philosophy.

I am quite convinced that anyone reading Carlos Casteneda’s “Journey to Ixlan”, Lopsang Rampa’s “The Third Eye” and Richard Bach’s “Adventures Of A Reluctant Messiah” would find that their life had been directed onto a path different o the one they had been following – and not necessarily a better one.

I am of that generation which grew up aware of the possibility of a dire fate. On the North Yorkshire moors, in the county in which I was born and grew up, there was a big radar station, there to track possible incoming missiles armed with nuclear warheads. We were in the line of fire between Russia and America, and the cold war was at its coldest.

I remember beer-soaked conversations which reached the conclusion that we were all going to die as a result of a nuclear accident. Those intercontinental ballistic missiles could travel from one continent to another in a matter of minutes to deliver a knockout punch. We had a grim saying. In the event of nuclear fallout, put your head between your knees and kiss your arse goodbye.

Our fate was in the hands of competing superpowers.

Freud’s theory was that our actions depended on the actions of our parents, and of their parents. Our families were responsible for the way that we behaved. We were mere pawns in situations that we could not control and were unable to change.

The conclusion of this line of thought was that no one was responsible for anything. We were merely victims of the situations in which we found ourselves. We were the flower power generation, meant only to indulge ourselves in sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. We had no control of our destinies, so the thing was to go ahead and indulge ourselves.

David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, says that if you can remember the sixties then you weren’t really there. An entire generation grew up to be irresponsible, dependent on welfare and the State for their well being, blaming every setback on someone else.

I decided to improve my knowledge, to read what the great thinkers had to say. One book changed my attitude to life, and I can’t even remember its title. It said I had as much right to be in the world as the next man. I had as much right to what the world had to offer, but whether I was happy or not was my responsibility. That idea penetrated deep into my soul.

Responsibility. What an alien concept. What a beautiful truth!

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