The value of a man is as great as his responsibility.
- Hazrat Inayat Khan
This does not mean giving up any freedom except the freedom to act irresponsibility.
- Klaatu – The Day the Earth Stood Still (in his warning to planet Earth)
In my last post I lamented the dearth – not death, although it’s getting there – of true Commitment. But even that profound level of Commitment has little value if it’s not accompanied by its sibling – Responsibility.
These days responsibility seems to be defined simply as the lack of total irresponsibility. If someone is responsible about this, that or the other thing, they consider themselves to be responsible beings – even if they’re irresponsible for two out of every three other items. This isn’t baseball, y’all – where batting .300 will get you into the Hall of Fame. Responsibility is like pregnancy – you are, or you ain’t.
I’ve dealt with artists who think that if they show up for the gig, rehearsals and interviews on time and prepared, it makes them responsible. But there are so many other layers of responsibility involved – to the other musicians, the promoter, the manager, the agent, the audience, and on and on. And in kind, that sense of responsibility needs to be held front and center by those sidemen, promoters, managers, agents and audiences. It’s a big symbiotic relationship of filigree delicacy. One misstep and the entire structure can implode.