Personal Responsibility and Character



 Anais Nin writes about responsibility and character, much as Joan Didion did in her later essay On Self Respect. In this short excerpt, Nin suggests that we can change, that change is possible, and that we must take responsibility for our actions, our beliefs, our convictions.  

“We cannot always place responsibility outside of ourselves, on parents, nations, the world, society, race, religion.”

(see also: Didion’s essay On Self Respect – one of the most powerful essays written on the subject…)



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5 responses to “Personal Responsibility and Character

  1. Pingback: Personal Responsibility and Character | Free psychology

  2. So true. I think a mistake we humans often make is to believe that we are not to blame or are not responsible for much of the actions we make. This kind of thinking can lead to stagnation and complacency, and the willingness to accept things as they are, even if the state of the world is in dire need of repair. An acceptance of one’s own position and place in the stream of events known collectively as Life, can lead to evolution and the changing of those occurences that can be most damaging to one’s well-being as well as to the planet.

  3. I agree with your thoughts…I do think that as we (in psych) continue to search for answers, using neuroscience as a backdrop, we may promote the idea that behaviors can be ‘excused’ on the basis of this research – e.g., criminal behavior, sociopathy, etc…thus diminishing the personal responsibility…

  4. Hello Rudy,

    This is in response to your response to Niko the Orb? 🙂 Is the psych community -I call it educating – society at large about criminal behavior regarding Schizophrenia, sociopathy, psychopathy, changes in the brain upon repeated exposure to violence as a youth, etc., a bad thing?

    Why do you feel that these behaviors are only used to excuse behavior of an individual? Just curious, but what do you think about an instance where a person is hearing voices and non-compliant if on meds? Is there a self to take responsibility if they self harm or other harm as they react to what they I hearing? You would know better than I from your experience, and I am very interested in your response. Thank-you in advance.

  5. Reply to godtisx…
    Fascinating point…I think my thought was more to do with those individuals that are not terribly disturbed (in the sense of psychosis), but rather that use their diagnosis to their advantage, e.g. getting disability or leniency in court because of their psychiatric diagnosis. More to your point – I have found during my time as an attorney that the courts are not able (overall) to appreciate true mental illness, witnessing those with delusions and hallucinations getting swept aside without due consideration. A movement of therapeutic jurisprudence (restorative justice) is making some headway – at least with those that suffer from drug and alcohol addictions – and need therapeutic help, not more prison time….Let me know if I’m hitting on your point here….

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