The Myth of Independence

By | July 4, 2011

Beyonce sang about it.

People love to talk about it when everything is going well.

It’s a great topic when all is right in your world and you are not attempting to grow with your partner. This huge American obsession with independence is a hoax. There truly is no such thing. Nobody does anything by themselves or for themselves.

If you have spent any time anywhere in the world, you understand that people are a part of life. That nothing gets done without a whole lot of hands in the mix.

From the food we buy to the cars we drive and the houses we live in nothing stands independently of anything else.

It is amazing to me how much energy and focus being independent has generated over the years. I have lived by myself off and on for a number of years. During this time, I have visited friends and they in turn have visited me.

Sometimes we shared meals because of wanting the others company and sometimes because of economic need.

It is always frightening to me how little we know about our neighbors and those that we call friends. When I lived in NYC, I had friends who had lived in the same thirty floor building for more than five years. They couldn’t name two neighbors.

When I arrived in NYC, I had a friend I’d known since high school and yet was unwelcome to stay in his house until I learned the city, found work, etc.

My mother loves to proclaim independence and her favorite saying is “every tub has got to stand on its own bottom”.

Refusing to take her own advice, she has yet to fully self actualize and determine her own path.

It comes back to being not independent but interdependent. As I stated earlier, the ridiculousness of saying someone is a friend and yet you’ve never been to their house and had a meal really annoys and baffles me.

This way of interaction is very American to me.

The concept of secret keeping and I don’t want you “all up in my business” is laughable and very odd to me. I have often done my best thinking with and in the presence of others.

I have done my best growing and insight development in the company of friends.

Sometimes, my colleagues have been more dependent on me. Other times, I have found myself completely at the mercy of their kindness and generosity. I don’t fine that shameful or something to be avoided.

We all need each other.

This is just the way that it is. As soon as we can recognize this fact and accept it, the better off we will all be. I have known people who tell me how independent they are and yet they have wealthy lovers paying for absolutely everything in their lives.

How is this independent?

This is independence? I have had other people try and pull that rugged individualism and yet make fucked up mistakes that could have been easily avoided had they allowed themselves the discomfort (that would have been temporary) of seeking help.

It is time that we either look to other countries/societies or ancestors here to find out how to truly live together.

By observing other cultures and older generations we can master the concept of living interdependently . We can learn to be successful both individually and collectively.

We can learn to think about ourselves and the rest of the world when making tough decisions.

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