our duties to one another



A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people) like a crutch which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it is idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits etc.) can do the journey on their own. ~ C.S. Lewis, Letters of C. S. Lewis

Pleasure and desire are a natural guidance system that directs organisms toward food, warmth, sex, and other things that meet their needs. Are we to imagine that we are exceptions to nature’s way? Are we to imagine that we’ve graduated past that guidance system, moved to a higher realm in which pleasure is no longer ally, but enemy? No. That is a thought form of Separation. The guidance system of pleasure words in us too. It does not stop at the basic animal needs of food, sex, and shelter. In all its forms, it guides us toward the fulfillment of our needs and desires, and therefore to the unfolding of our potential. ~ Charles Eisenstein, The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible

But obligation, I eventually saw, is not the same as commitment, and it’s certainly not an acceptable reason to stick with something that isn’t working ~ Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

This week we discussed duty. We tried to make a distinction between the duties given to us by others versus those that we give ourselves or, to put it more finely, the obligations that are essential to who we are. This is not an easy task. Most writers recognized that the two are not mutually exclusive: that those that exist in relationship with others are often guided and refined by who we are. We all struggled to distinguish a duty of ours that is essential to us that exists independently of our relationship to others. In a sense, we are all connected by both our relationships and duties that hold them together.

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