Live from Cairoston

A misconception, I believe, is to distinguish between commitments and responsibilities initiated after reaching maturity and others that have been imposed during a prior moment.

There is no difference between the commitment one has to the language they grew up speaking, the country they were born in, or the God they grew up worshiping, on the one hand, and the transactions they chose to enter and the relationships they chose to establish on the other. One cannot say that the prior type occurred without their consent, while the second they take responsibility of.

The reason that there is no difference is because the commitments you made 10 years ago were made by a person different from you today … it was made by an earlier you, which is different from the current one. People change by time. Why, our entire biological bodies are renewed as cells die and others replace them each day. We are vague entities hovering over a replenishing skeleton, and a commitment made a minute ago was made by an earlier person than the one present right now. Do not hold me accountable for what I’ve written before I was 20, or my posts from last month … and do not hold me accountable for the previous paragraph of this very post, because as I was typing, I grew and have become someone else.

Extend this argument back in time, and the notion of complaining because you were born into a family or a culture or a religion or a language that you did not choose is weightless. If you want to get out of a commitment established before you were accountable and mature then you can use the same tools to get out of any responsibility whatsoever, at present or in the future. So there is no difference.

Yet we are bound to become discontent by our entanglements because we change and grow, many times at a faster pace than that of our contexts. The solution is not to imagine that freedom from one context will relieve the discontentment, because you only escape to another context and new entanglements. The solution is to tug and pull hard at the weighty context that pins you down. As you pull you grow stronger … you actualize … you become, and since you have not severed the ties with your context, it grows along with you. For your context is largely you and how you see it. It’s your twin image that you always need but will never leave the mirror to wander around wherever you please.

Demand your freedom from commitments without ever abandoning them. If you can seek individuality while respecting being part of a whole and fullfilling your commitments, you will grow – the hard way – and your whole will grow with you.*


Note added: Outgrowing your context, the whole, leaves you without the much needed source of nourishment. Grow too fast and you will experience a boom and bust. Grow the hard way and your context will grow with you, thus providing you with the resources you need to keep on growing. (Reflect on the fate of weeds sprayed with auxins… one way to kill something is to have it grow quickly, and therefore fall to weakness too soon.)

Comments on: "On commitments and acountablity" (2)

  1. Hatem Azzam said:

    That’s very powerful Ahmed. Thank you for sharing. I like how do you define growing the hard way…..when we are actualizing and becoming ….it so true, simple and powerful.

  2. Shukran ya Hatem, for your visit and comment 🙂

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