It is a truth universally acknowledged that taking responsibility for one’s actions is something one should do, but when it comes down to it, it rarely happens.
This is because it is really difficult to be a good person. And in my mind, being a good person means taking responsibility. We were discussing this at Tove’s memorial, how the evil corporations always seem to have it much easier1 than the good ones. The answer is of course that if you’re evil, you don’t have to care. Being evil is easy. You don’t have to take responsibility, you don’t have to worry that your solution to a problem hurts anyone.
You don’t have to worry about what kind of message you are sending through the products you make, the text you write and the podcasts you produce. Being evil allows for all kinds of “fun” expressions without worrying about how appropriate or inappropriate they are.
“Being evil” in this context I should say is more akin to indifference than anything else. “Why should I care?” Is an easy way to ignore potential harm that may come to people, trough pretty much anything. Through choice of words, through ignoring huge swaths of the population, through perpetuating damaging stereotypes and much more.
It is easier to remain ignorant. It costs less, both in time, effort and money, at least at the outset.
Being good – in this context caring – requires that you listen to people who have previously been hurt. It requires action, not just empty words. It requires reading, understanding and most of all, it requires vigilance.
Those things aren’t always easy. It can be a real struggle to both understand and adapt to a worldview where you’re not the hero anymore, if you ever were.
Being a good person takes a lot of work, and it is not even much fun, because it requires reflection and self-awareness and honestly, there are no cookies and the jokes aren’t as much “fun”, although the comedians are usually a lot better because they have to work a lot harder
The rewards, however, are worth it. Gaining trust, gaining friends, being someone they can rely on and feel safe with, someone to talk to who may not always understand but will educate themselves to get a grasp of the subject. Being a place to rest. That’s the best feeling in the world.