Our priorities determine how we act in life. If helping others is our priority, then everything else is secondary or of less importance. If making money is our priority, then everything else is secondary or of less importance. If looking after our own interests is our priority, then everything else is secondary or of less importance.
Now we all understand that helping others, making money, and looking after our own interests are all important to us and that differing situations call for somewhat different priorities. But there is often one overriding priority that is our starting position, our view of how we will deal with the world in most situations.
Behind all of this is an even more important assumption about the world and that is how we view ourselves relative to others. Are we in this life alone, or can we depend on economics to find our allies in the moment, or are we in this together either succeeding or failing together?
The ultimate test comes when life throws us an unexpected curve ball or even a knuckleball which is totally unpredictable. In other words, how do we deal with an unexpected event that seems to change all the previous assumptions about life and the world. Do we work together to find ways to adapt and confront the new challenges, do we see the new situation as an opportunity to profit economically from the changes, or do we simply hunker down and defend ourselves against everyone else?
Whatever our view of life, when everything seems to shift underneath our feet and everyone else’s too, working together is the only viable and sustainable solution. That is, perhaps, the definition of responsibility -- the ability to respond in a meaningful way.