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Independence as an Illusion

Modern American culture perpetuates the idea that; to be "successful" is to be independent. I believe this thinking is an illusion, at best, as it flies in the face of the interdependency only a very rare few manage to survive without.

Let's go back: From as early as grade school, and sometimes younger, most of us receive the message that we won't be deemed successful adults until we gain financial independence. Often, by way of some pre-determined caliber of career choice. While the social pressures applied to the level of prestige in said choosing varies among social classes, cultures, and belief systems, the message remains unanimous: you aren't successful until you don't need anyone's help.

"The interdependence we currently benefit from is so efficient most people aren't even aware of it. "

I challenge this thinking based on one major flaw: it is physically impossible not to need each other. You literally can not gain financial freedom without money. Neither can you make money without doing something for someone else. "Money" is simply a commodity traded for time; time we later trade for necessities and luxuries if we're fortunate. Simpler than that, it is impossible to grow enough crop varieties to maintain good health without community. Can you imagine growing enough vegetables and fruit or raising and caring for enough livestock to maintain you and/or your family, in good health, for just one year? There aren't enough hours in the day.

Even when you only consider the basic necessities; food, shelter, and water- you need a small town to cover all the bases. Everywhere you look there are homes, apartment complexes, hotels, condos, and bridges decorated with transients. In all the aforementioned buildings you'll find sinks and water fountains aplenty. The only one left is food. where is all the food? Where does it actually come from? Everywhere you go in the US you are in, or least very near, civilization. So where are all the apple trees? Where are the bacon farms?? For every square foot occupied by a human as a living space, there should be farm land to feed said human. In the same town. The experts claim anywhere from 1 to 3 ares needed for each person, per year. #$%@&??!?

You may not need your parents' home or money anymore, but you need SOMEone's. Someone to spray the pests from your oranges. Another someone to load them into a truck. Then a team to transport them to your country, state, city, neighborhood grocery store. You need a whole slew of people. But maybe not your parents or the classmates so many people give much time to comparing themselves to.

How did our basic needs become the very things we trade someone most of our life TIME for?

How did it come to be that we prize "independence" over community? The interdependence we currently benefit from is so efficient most people aren't even aware of it. All we really end up doing is shifting our neediness to a nameless faceless entity... made of people. This shift, in my opinion, is the root cause of profit margin. When you know the guy, his wife, and two kids personally- you can't in good conscience charge him three times the worth of your product. Further, profit margin contributes to a saddening decline in accountability. This disconnection removes the humanity, integrity, and ethical responsibility from our exchanges and creates the illusion of independence.

We are not independent, we need each other. It is my personal belief that to be "successful" is to be delightfully, responsibly, and ethically interdependent. Who's sitting at your table?

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