Culpability is a voluntary sentiment that I seldom decide to administer toward myself. How is it that, as people, we exhibit extremely different multitudes of sensitivity for bearing responsibility? I automatically recognize the consequences of my immediate actions: I got drunk instead of doing my reading so I am unable to answer the question the professor asked; I knocked over the cup so now it’s out of the beirut game, etc. Instantaneously, I gauge my responsibility for things that occur from my actions. But what makes me draw the line between what I feel I am personally accountable for and what I dismiss as beyond my realm of influence?

It must be a gift to be able to honestly believe that something isn’t our fault. When we are able to believe that we don’t bear the weight of the responsibility for shit that happens, it is incredibly fortunate. Other times, we theoretically recognize our influence, yet are able to place the weight not directly on ourselves but on our society or our government’s policies. I work hard to place the blame on Mr. Bush and multi-national corporations for the wretched state of world affairs, so why don’t I just look to myself? Because when I do, it makes me fear getting out of bed in the morning.

Because when I think about it, I know that I will undoubtedly have some disastrous effect on the world today. I am inevitably going to buy something to eat, like a sandwich for example. In buying that sandwich, I support a large agricultural firm that is dumping its product into a third world nation, impoverishing a small farmer who then can’t afford to feed his family even though he grows food for a living. So, he decides the only way to get them enough money is to sell his daughters into prostitution, where the girls get raped and re-raped and then sent to a prostitution ring in another country, carrying with them all of the STIs that their bastard assailants gave to them in the first place. They infect another culture of people in a different sector of the world that then gets passed through the entire population but blamed on women, because that’s what always happens, furthering the “divine right” of men to oppress women because of their “sinful nature,” keeping men in staunch control over the societal system; this encourages military conflict over something like a plot of land – because land is becoming ever more scarce due to machines like the harvesting machine that cut down the wheat for my bread. Through the machine’s exhaust, harmful chemicals are put into the atmosphere that adds to the greenhouse effect, raising atmospheric temperatures and changing weather patterns. This develops a hurricane, which hits a coastline and destroys the land there, displacing thousands of people so that they move to other land; but overall, there is less land to go around so the violent conflicts in the patriarchal societies automatically increase into larger conflicts that then start to ruin more land and displace more people and more and more and more? and that is just one part of my sandwich!

If I drop the pebble in the pond, am I only responsible for the first ripple because it was the direct cause of the pebble hitting water or must I recognize that all of the concentric circles that spread across the surface are my liabilities? We would all go insane if we worried about dropping pebbles; it would be almost impossible to live if we consumed ourselves with being culpable for all the consequences of all our consumption. I know that – believe me, I do.

But we are dropping bombs now.

Hunter is a member of the class of 2007.

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