By Badb Catha
By virtue of being alive, I feel obligated to those who have made my material existence possible in the first place. This sense of obligation and responsibility does not stop short of my immediate family but extends to every sage, warrior, and innovator who have fought to preserve my people and the land I live on.
For those of us fortunate enough to have grown-up with some semblance of parental involvement and guidance, most of what struck us as unfair at the age of six probably make perfect sense to us as reasonably mature adults. We understand that the limitations placed upon us were, for the most part, entirely for our own benefit. Boundaries kept us safe from harm, behavioural expectations ensured that we were fit for society, rules and regulations provided us with a sense of security and stability, and denial made us all the more appreciative of any privileges we did receive. As the years went by, parental authority softened and we were afforded more and more of our little freedoms; freedom to choose, freedom to decide, and freedom to accept this or reject that. Of course, these newly granted liberties turned out to be conditional. ‘With freedom comes responsibility’, as the saying goes. Without self-restraint, self-denial and the ability to self-limit, freedom gives way to chaos, therefore freedom is absolutely out of the question. And so our parents guide, nurture and provide for us as children, while our duty to them is to stand as the fruits of that labour, provide them grandchildren, and to offer them care in their old age. It is through a sense of responsibility and obligation that we ensure that life consistently improves for each successive generation. Families, and by extension, communities, nations and empires are built and sustained through self-sacrifice, not self-indulgence. As soon as the individual is elevated above the community that birthed and sustained him, that community starts to decay.