Home » Sustainocracy » books on sustainable human progress » Responsibility, what is that?

Responsibility, what is that?

In STIR we speak of “taking responsibility” for sustainable human progress, but what does that word mean? How do we differentiate between what we take responsibility for individually and what we expect from our surrounding society? And how does responsibility relate to the current crises?

Responsibility is a learning process of Awareness
Within the framework of the evolutionary development of human complexities we see that responsibility belongs to the learning process of our “To Be”. That means that it has different levels of awareness which get people to see reality in different ways as they step up their level of consciousness.

I identify 4 important levels:

1. No consciousness: a stone has no awareness and does not take any responsibility at all.

2. Awareness: Every living species has a basic degree of awareness. A tree looses its leaves in autumn to be able to survive the winter. A dog is loyal to someone who feeds it and provides protection. At this level of awareness the responsibility concentrates on survival without a second thought.

3. Self awareness: Certain species, like the human being, have the ability to be aware of themselves. This means that we can observe our own selves and reflect about our actions, making decisions as a consequence. We intent then to influence our environment for our own benefit and we reflect about the consequences or results of our own behavior and choices. We tend to take responsibility for our self interest, learning from them as we go along. We try to create security for ourselves (and our loved ones) for the short and long term. Our world evolves dynamically and interactively between our “doing things” en evolutionary “being someone”.

We also realize that we create better options when working together in communities that eventually formed societies. We see then also a level of collective awareness appear that may different from the individual. The “collective consciousness” may be seen as a business entity, a regional community like a village or city, a family, etc.

4. The higher awareness: When we reach this point of awareness we let go of the self interest and become aware of existential and universal queries that affect our daily decisions and responsibilities. We now “are” before we “do”. We see ourselves in an evolutionary process and value our interactiona within the complexity of our natural surroundings. Our reality converts itself into a personal mission of contributing something eternal to the infinite universal development of the conscience. This is a relatively unknown are of science and hence a totally new field of investigation.

More higher awareness in the world
At individual level we observe a growing amount of individuals that pass from lever 3 to level 4 awareness. This however does not mean that they can take responsibility accordingly at the same time. At individual level they can but they still need to interact with a society that is structured at a collectiev level of conciousness. The social environment of our societies does not generally surpass yet level 2, the simplest form of awareness. This is often kept this way by the self-interests of dominant people in power positions, maling people slaves to certain securities in exchange for their (democratic) loyality.

After world war II there was a temporary boost of collective awareness. This disappeared again in the 70s when fragmented self interests of greed and economic growth started to develop again individually and collectively. Still, thanks to the short boost, peace in Europe was in historic averages lengthened by decades.

Now, due to the crises, the level of collective self-awareness in certain regions is rising again, thanks often to people with a level 4 consciousness. But most people in the world live in urban concentration points of cities where self sufficiency is nearly impossible. They have a dominant dependency on the level 2 structure of the reigning society, that is insensitive to the health, safety and vulnerability of the human being. If people with a higher awareness wish to take responsibility they either have to move out of the city or enter into a confrontation with the dominant system of control and financial greed and power.

Such confrontation does not have to be aggressive at all. It can perfectly well be executed in a peaceful way through common sense and (sustainocratic) co-creation. There are always people who would block such processes out of self protection of their position of power. But there are also plenty of people in positions of power and authority that do wish to make a difference. The latter are true leaders of change.

STIR, using Sustainocracy, takes responsibility for co-creating society from a higher awareness point of view, inviting everyone to join and contribute. Professionals at a higher level of awareness may now take responsibility to transform society by transforming their institutions at the same time.

A crisis only exists for those that resist change by not taking responsibility for it from their own level of awareness and using the authroity that every individual has.

If you wish to know how it works for yourself you can attend the international seminar in Eindhoven in September 2013.


  1. merkenloos says:

    Mooi stuk en toch vraag ik me af of er geen midden moet Zijn, Tussen eigenbelang en dienstbaarheid. Tussenzijn zeg ik altijd tegen mijn zoon. We are inbetweeners

  2. De beste drijfveer van de mens is eigenbelang dat wederkerig is met de omgeving vanuit dienstbaarheid. Wat je geeft krijg je meervoudig terug, in alle opzichten.

  3. merkenloos says:

    Dank u want dat is het inbetween zijn. En de zekerheid van een beloning ben ik inmiddels vergeten omdat het daarom eigelijk niet gaat.

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