I yesterday explained that I see myself just as a simple man. When one reader saw this statement, he objected and told me that I could not just say I was a simple man. Many people read my blog and due to this I have quite a responsibility for what I am saying or writing. I thought the question of a writer’s and a reader’s responsibility in this context to be quite interesting and wanted to write some lines about it.
First of all, thank you for reminding me of my responsibility as a writer but it was not really necessary, I am always aware of it. The responsibility that I feel is actually the main reason for me to write. I don’t earn money from writing here, I don’t write for any newspaper and don’t submit my articles with a word count so that I can live from what I write. No, with my blog, I want to share my personal experience, give an insight into the changes that happened in my life and tell about my feelings so that maybe one or the other person who is in a similar process of change or thought gets a little help. Maybe my words tell another person that he or she is not alone with those feelings. Maybe it gives someone another point of view, another idea, another perspective. Or maybe it just entertains – even that is fine with me.
When I say however that I am a simple man I mean that none of the intentions above – to help someone in any way – come from the self-elevated position of a guru, master or leader. When I say that I write and feel the responsibility to share my experience, I also want to make it clear that it is not an arrogant, egoistic account of someone who thinks he is enlightened and the only one on this earth who has made this experience. On the contrary, I am convinced that many more have gone through similar thought processes like me, for any of the topics I am writing about! I believe it is our responsibility to help each other and by sharing our experiences, we can certainly do that!
Obviously each writer has a certain responsibility for his writings. If you write hate speech and incite people to do crimes or to hurt someone, you are for a good part responsible for the consequences of your words, too. I never however write such hateful things. Whenever I write my opinion about anything, I clearly explain the logical reasons for my opinion, describe my personal experience and in general take care to keep a decent language. It is then the reader’s turn to decide what to do with my words.
This is finally the most important point: the reader’s responsibility for his own life. I may tell you my experience and explain you exactly how I feel but you may feel very different about the same thing! I may tell you what I did but you may not feel that this is the right thing for you! I never tell you to follow my example nor do I expect you to do anything after reading my words. Now the ball is in your court and you decide what you will do with it.
What I want to say is that everybody’s situation is very individual and while I, as a writer, can give a general suggestion, for example that it is always good to be honest, it is now your responsibility how to use this suggestion. If you decide to be honest and unnecessarily tell your boss that you don’t like him and get fired due to that, I would not think that I was responsible for that!
A writer has a certain responsibility but so has the reader. As a reader you always have to take the words, consider whom they are coming from and for whom they are written and finally look into your own heart to decide how true they are for you. You can then take your responsibility in your own hands and finally act, independently and maybe with the input of a few different authors. The actions however will be yours and the consequences, too.