Talking about obligation in my last post, I got to thinking… when I lived in Japan, a big theme of the culture is giri meaning duty or obligation. It’s one thing I think American culture has little of. That can be bad… it leads to an everyone is out for themselves mentality. It seems like the web is more personal than some real life communities which is interesting. Most people would think that the computer is cold and impersonal, in fact I’ve found the opposite true.
People are now surprised when you help them for no reason. For example, I have an elderly neighbor in her 70’s. I take her at least once a week to the Walmart or to the thrifshop. She has a daughter that takes her out on Saturdays, so she really like that I take her out during the week while her daughter is working. I don’t want anything from this lady but she is incredulous that I would go out of my way to try and help her. I feel a certain responsibility to help the older people around me. Often they are grouchy and moody, so it is not always a pleasant experience but I feel it’s important to teach my kids about duty… after all some day they will take care of ME!