Let’s summarize the previous discussion: From the basic rights of existence each being derives the equal right to live, to develop and to carry out its tasks. Every being can thereby decide for itself what it wants to do or not do (the principle of self-determination). He who is free to decide for himself what he should do or not do is naturally also responsible for the consequences of his decisions. Who otherwise would be responsible for the consequences of a decision if someone can freely decide? From the principle of self-determination there follows therefore the principle of self-responsibility:
Why we do something is not significant for living the basic rights of existence. We have decided to do it. That is sufficient. There is no difference whether I kill because I was ordered to or whether I decided to do it for myself. I did it – therefore I am responsible for it.
It is true that we can prevent someone from being able to do certain things, by for example putting this person in prison, no one can however force another person to do something against their own will1. Everyone has his own free will and the right of self-determination and can also make use of it. By the way this is also true for a position in a company: Every employee can decide for himself whether or not he will follow the orders of his superiors. This may seem to be highly theoretical in practice but it is still true! Naturally the consequences of not doing something under protest in certain cases can be extremely painful (dismissal, punishment etc.), but in spite of this the option exists. In certain cases there is – on the basis of our responsibility for the basic rights of existence – even the «duty» to avoid doing something. This subject will be dealt with in detail in Volume 2 of the book series «Time for change».
We have seen that with the increasing experience of a person we can set higher demands on his ability to assess the consequences of his actions. The more practised a person is in a given activity the better he can normally assess the consequences of his action. The ability to assess the consequences of our decisions with respect to the following of the basic rights of existence is part of our awareness. If on the basis of my awareness or my abilities I am able to assess or to feel the consequences of a decision I have made, I am responsible for the consequences of this decision. The responsibility for the consequences of our decisions increases with our ability to perceive these consequences. Or to put it another way:
With increasing awareness the ability to carry responsibility also increases.
1 We do not wish to go into the effect of drugs and psychotropic drugs, which can be used to manipulate a person’s will, here.