Over the years, we have heard about the many problems within our society. Outrage and anger over these issues has created division between political parties, friends, and even within ourselves. These issues open rifts that seem like they will never close. Discussing these problems and searching for a solution is important and needs to continue to happen, but something we have neglected to talk about is responsibility.
We all have responsibilities. As college students, we are here to receive a degree. We have tests, papers, and projects that dominate our lives. We have friends and family that want our attention. The people in our lives count on us, and we want to be there for them. We all know that we need to keep up with it all, yet we still fall short at times. We feel terrible about our failures, letting ourselves down, and even worse, letting others down. But we are only human and failure happens.
There are responsibilities we have neglected to talk about. Ones that have fallen to the wayside in this turbulent time of social change. The most important responsibility we all have is to tell the truth.
Every day, we are exposed to ideas, whether it be in class, or in our own heads. There are some ideas that we support and some that we do not. It can be scary and difficult to speak against ideas that you disagree with, especially if you are the only one to disagree. Yet this is our responsibility. Sitting idly by and letting the slow creep of rose covered intellectual thorn bushes consume us is unacceptable. When ideas are presented that are false, they need to be met with criticism and judgment. Too often do bad ideas run amok without challenge.
As long as those criticisms are presented wholeheartedly and without malice, the truth will emerge. How often do we say things that are not true or make statements that are not our thoughts? Things other people have said and we parrot? When we present ideas that we do not believe, we are tearing down ourselves and our communities.
When these falsehoods are normal, we teach each other that it is acceptable to not tell the truth. These intellectual thorn bushes will eventually consume us. They will choke away our lives and our society.
Everyone has been in a situation where they said something they don’t believe and choked the foundation of their own self-respect. Those lies may have ruined friendships or damaged the way we think of ourselves. Ask yourself, have you said something that you are just repeating, or sat back and said nothing, because it was easy? Do you enjoy living with that?
The truth is not easy, it is the exact opposite. The truth is hard. Try telling your best friend that they’re wrong about something important to them. Try telling yourself that you are wrong, that you have wrapped yourself in thorn bushes. It might be the hardest thing you do, but are those the friends you want to have, is that the person you want to be?
The responsibility to the truth is a not social problem that can be solved with protest and group action. No one is going to know if the ideas you are presenting align with what you believe is true. You will know though. You will wake up and face the garden you have grown.
As a community, we have drifted from the ideas of responsibility, as well as the truth. Sometimes we obsess over our rights and what we deserve. The social eye should return inward, to responsibilities, to ourselves. We should look inward and ask ourselves if we believe what we are saying.