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Mark Atwood
"Abdicate Obligations"
Several of my friends have been talking about "celebrating Discardia". From context, it was pretty easy to figure out how one "celebrates" this "holiday". (Getting rid of junk.)

However, when doing some web searches to find the origin of this term for de-cluttering (which I think is a great thing, one of the best things about my recent move was getting rid of more than half of my accumulated "stuff"), I encountered a phrase that is just absolutely rubbing me the wrong way.

It's a day to, among other things, "abdicate obligations".

I can't even begin to start enumerating all the ways that bugs me. Maybe some people have a different definition of "abdicate" and of "obligation" than I do...

Followup: omahas explained it pretty well. The problem is probably with my snap definition of "abdicate". My first blush definition was on the order of "to hare off, damn the consequences", when properly the definition (inherieted from the legal sense, of a king leaving his throne) it has a more thoughtful and deliberate aspect than I was giving it.

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gipsieee From: gipsieee Date: November 7th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)
abdicate: give up, such as power, or duties and obligations
obligation: the state of being obligated to do or pay something

... never mind, I can't answer your implied question in a way I'd be happy to have up in a public forum. For my curiosity, these definitions seemed reasonably in keeping with my understanding of the terms used, do they map to yours as well?
From: j5nn5r Date: November 7th, 2006 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
obligations to stuff, clutter, junk - sure.

obligations to people? not easily.
wyckhurst From: wyckhurst Date: November 7th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think I'll just leave my kids to fend for themselves, maybe even drop them in the middle of the woods. Because you know, it's abdicate my responsibility day!
jatg From: jatg Date: November 7th, 2006 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Drop em off here! I'll abdicate my work for a day. I'll convince Lisa to fly out here and she can skip school and her responsibilities too! WHEEE! :D
dhole From: dhole Date: November 7th, 2006 09:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I can sort of kind of see ending responsibilities as a worthwhile sort of activity, particularly those sort of responsibilities that were taken on under circumstances that have changed -- being a treasurer of a club that you don't participate in much anymore, that sort of thing. At a minimum, thinking about what responsibilities one has, how they arose and whether they're worth maintaining can be a good thing to do every once in a while. But responsibilities that are better off being ended have to be ended gracefully. Abdicating responsibilities? That ain't right.
omahas From: omahas Date: November 7th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you're making an assumption about what "abdicate" means that is incorrect. Abdicate does not mean "giving up" as in "running away" but as in "not being able to continue claiming any rights to anymore"...as in "giving up your rights to".

For example, if you were treasurer of a club, abdicating your obligations means that you can no longer claim to *be* treasurer of the club..you have *officially* given up all rights to that title, the rights, the responsibilities that the title and to the club in that regard, and they can now go find another treasurer.
omahas From: omahas Date: November 7th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Someone else already did a good job of defining the terms.

As far as doing so, you, I, and everyone else have *every right* to abdicate an obligation to an activity or a person if they so choose. I have done so, a number of times. I insisted Elf do so (and he finally did, but not until after it was too late...you know who I'm talking about).

We do not make obligations with the understanding that they will last for the rest of our lives, or that they will even last for the length of the promise we made to perform them. We *hope* to continue performing the obligation, but there can (and for me there did) come a time when changes to our lives force changes to our ability to maintain our current obligations.

I sat down at the beginning of this year and wrote out all of my obligations. I noted down their order of importance to me, their order of importance to the obligee (in my perception), and what the deadline of the obligation was, if there was a pre-set one.

Then I decided which obligation I felt needed to change somewhat, which ones I needed to end, and which ones I felt needed/could/should continue. I then talked with the obligees and discussed the issues so that we could both come to an agreeable decision.

Considering that I was drowning in obligations (I have problems with saying "no" that I've been working on) it was very necessary. And that is how you "abdicate to an obligation".
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