The Weird Thing About Independence

It’s Independence Day here in the Philippines – and of course, that led to contemplate (rather lamely) the idea of Independence and just how freaking weird it is.

Say WHAT?! (Photo credit: Greencolander)

Hear me out.

Being independent in is defined as follows (byMerriam-Webster):

1. Not subject to control by others.

2. Not requiring or relying on something else.

3. Not requiring or relying on others.

4. Showing a desire for freedom.

Out of these definitions – and I totally admit to picking out definitions that had nothing to do with algebra, taxes, or grammar – only the the fourth definition seems to be the most feasible. Yes, I think that wanting to be free is something everyone has. I also think that apart from that, absolute independence is IMPOSSIBLE.

  1. Other people control us all the time. Basic social graces is all about letting other people (society) control you.
  2. We rely on a lot of things. We all rely on food, shelter, clothing, and ESPECIALLY luck, to get by.
  3. We basically rely on each other. Otherwise predators – real or otherwise – will get to us.

If you look at it one way, independence is all about the freedom to make and act on choices. And yet a huge part of the world judge people who choose to be slaves, who choose to be murderers, who choose to have romantic relationships with inflatable animals, who choose to die.

“But Elea!” you might say. “The fact that they can do that in the first place means they’re free!” I agree with you, of course. But that’s not ABSOLUTE liberty.

Absolute independence requires everyone to just not give a shit about what everyone else thinks or feels about your choices. The thing is, the human race evolved to care about stuff like that because we need each other to survive; whether we like to admit it or not, we need the approval of other people. A huge part of why we’re still here is the fact that we turned interdependence into an art form. To try be perfectly independent will likely put us on the fast track to depression, even if it sometimes feels like hell is OTHER people.

What am I getting at? I don’t know. I’m not even sure what the point of this is. All I know is that it’s Independence Day in a beautiful country for whom revolutions did jack shit because, at the end of the day, people still felt more comfortable with the status quo.

God, I just depressed myself. I better put vodka in my tea.

I talked to my mother about this (the independence thing, not the vodka; I think she’s more into tequila anyway), and she said something that really gave me hope: “The value we should be honoring is respect, not independence. Respect stops people from abusing other people. Respect is one of the best things about humanity. We should just celebrate respect.”

I swear to god, my mom needs to have a blog and everyone should listen to her when she talks like this.

What else can I say? Respect everyone you meet today, folks! That’s the closest we can get to real freedom now.

What do you think?

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