Responsibility and gratitude

Recently, I’ve been reading transcripts of seminars that Bernard Loomer gave at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley. In a seminar on “Surrender,” Loomer said:

“My own feeling is that if you emphasize responsibility too much, you are undervaluing others or the other. Also, you are over-valuing yourself. You are operating with an individualistic conception of the individual, not a social conception of the self. If you have a social sense of the self, you cannot maintain that you are wholly responsible for what you are. You can be responsible within it, but there are limits to which your responsibility extends. I also think that within this attitude of responsibility there is the idea that gratitude beyond a certain point leads to dependence and this is a basic form of weakness. As much as we may not admit this intellectually, many of us feel emotionally that dependence is weakness.”

Unfoldings, Bernard Loomer, 1985.