choice before responsibility

In Tracy Kidder’s book Mountains Beyond Mountains Paul Farmer is displayed as a man who is driven by the thought of helping others. He is constantly feeling the need to help and heal. Farmer chooses this and so takes action on those feelings. However I feel this was not his responsibility, and he did not owe it to anyone to do the tasks that he did. Farmer chose to. I believe that when it comes to the responsibility of other countries, states, cities and even communities/neighborhoods the choice is ours to do something whether someone’s giving their time, their money, or their talents to help those in need.

It all boils down to choice before responsibility. Webster defines responsibility as: The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something. The definition of choice is: An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. This demostrates that responsibility is a duty, something you owe to someone while choice is giving people that freedom to decide what they as individuals feel they want or need to do. Paul Farmer felt he needed to help the Haitian people. I imagine that many people would like to construct a life like Farmer’s, to wake up knowing what they ought to do and feeling that they were doing it. But I can’t think that many would willingly take on the difficulties, giving up their comforts and time with family. ” (213) Choice over responsibility.

When we are presented with injustice or crisis or disaster…people choose to give up luxuries and family to commit to “righting” these things. You are not responsible for it BUT instead you choose to own the sense of duty to help deal with it. Paul is a model of what should be done. He’s not a model for how it has to be done. Let’s celebrate him. Let’s make sure people are inspired by him. But we can’t say anybody should or could be just like him. ” (Jim Kim, 244) Although Paul Farmer did not change my idea of responsibility he did encourage my involvement to do what I can. Often times our decisions to act can be self-serving. Creating circumstances that allow us to say “oh yeah, I did that! But what we really should hope for is more of the eye opening experiences and that chance to say this changed my life and the life of others less fortunate then myself. Than come back and encourage others to go out and make a choice to act and create change. Since again I believe this isn’t a responsibility but a choice than people must choose to “sacrifice” (for themselves as individuals) what it takes to make this change. It’s than they become responsible or feel obligated to the issue at hand.

We like the idea of making a difference and creating change but selfishness takes over and outweighs the slightest sense of responsibility. Many of us are broken by TV campaigns (dying dogs/cats, orphaned children, child soldiers, homeless families) BUT when the time comes to really take action they honestly don’t care (choose) enough to see what’s real – how it got this way in the first place and what is really helping and what isn’t. “That’s when I feel most alive, when I’m helping people. (Paul Farmer, 295). Farmer chooses this lifestyle and holds strong to it, it was not his responsibility it was his choice first. Like Farmer, I believe that when it comes to having a responsibility to other countries, states, cities and even communities/neighborhoods the choice is needed