The Fallacy of Personal Independence

By Javier Munoz
Posted on: November 22, 2010
6 comments so far (is that a lot?)

independence_noneWestern societies have placed great value on the concept of personal independence. From a very early age, we are taught to be personally independent. Newborns are not supposed to be held when they cry so they don’t become dependent, not knowing your neighbors is also usual, and highways filled with cars driven by a single person is also a symbol of our beloved personal independence. However, there is no such thing as personal independence. Every dimension of our being is in a continuous dynamic exchange.

From a material dimension

Life depends on that continuous exchange, so much that any group of living organisms cannot survive
if they are not involved in a constant give and take amongst themselves and their environment. Up to ninety five percent of all atoms that make up your fifty trillion cells are replaced over the course of twelve months. As a matter of fact, our bodies’ ability to heal from a cut is the product of this quiet and continuous exchange we are in. Materially, we are our environment, hence we are not independent from it. If we care for our environment, we are instantly caring for ourselves.

From an emotional dimension

Our cognitive perception is enabled in part by our brain’s network structure of interconnected and interdependent neurons that in turn help us relate to our world through association and aggregation of patterns. Hence, the depth of our perception depends on thousands of emotional associations that embed meaning in our experiences. This cognitive process of pattern association is called chunking and cannot occur in a vacuum. Therefore, our worldview is entirely dependent on interconnected relationships and patterns that help us understand our role in life. A healthy life depends on building these relationships.

From a spiritual dimension

There is no aspect of our spiritual dimension (actually it is more than a single dimension) that could ever be described as being independent. Your spirit along with the whole of nature is a coherent manifestation of light as Universal Consciousness. All your actions knit greater coherence and meaning while bringing us closer to a realization of wholeness. Above, I mentioned that our brains are wired as networks of interconnected neurons that help us build series of associations clustering meaning into chunks, but our brain’s right hemisphere is also capable to act as a parallel processor enabling it to provide a unified and holistic sensation of oneness where the whole is in constant flux without any sense of separation, and where the underlying feeling that inspires coherence of the whole is LOVE.

The fallacy of Personal Independence is very much related with the Fallacy of Self-Esteem. Dependence is not inherently positive or negative, it is just a feature of nature. No one can realize any sustained progress if it is not in harmony with the whole. Team building and communities are of paramount importance for the unfolding paradigm shift. The concept of sharing and exchanging is becoming part of our lifestyles as a means for sustainability. Hence, we are recovering from a false understanding of our role in the universe. A role that is not the pursuit of independence, but of awareness of the whole.

6 Responses to “The Fallacy of Personal Independence”

  1. Sean Says:

    It’s an interesting article Javier, and I get what you’re suggesting. Everything exists in relationship – there is no ‘thing’ in the entire universe, from the subatomic/vibrational to the galactic that exists independently of anything else.

    Yet could you tell me how I feel or what I’m thinking? No. This is “independent” of you, or anyone, for that matter. Another cannot experience my emotions, cannot think for me, cannot resolve any internal conflicts I may have between any number of beliefs floating around in my realm of choices. The living “experience” is an independent one. The ways that I assemble the raw data of the organized universe is going to have an overall “independent” manifestation from your own.

    The emotional description seems very rooted in the physical still. The unique and independent configuration of each individual is going to result in manifestations of emotion in relation to subjects that encompass an entire spectrum of possibilities…and that spectrum is made up of the collection of independent perspectives.

    Independence co-exists with interdependence. It’s the means by which variety and art come about. The end manifestation of one flower to another in the same garden is both independent and interdependent.

    Independence is also the domain of personal integrity…nobody can resolve any internal issues I have. They can, through relationship, offer me suggestions and other points of perspective that I might ‘travel’ to to expand my own, but the choice to face it or not, to move and expand or not, exist independently of anyone.

    Anyhow…I question the use of the word ‘fallacy’. It does not lend itself well to reaching understanding on the relationship of independence and interdependence.

  2. Samuel Jones Says:

    Both make great points..

    I believe that without co-dependence, the other would cease to exist. This appears to be another theory that lands in the hands of balance, yin and yang, black and white.

    I agree that the word “fallacy” may not be the most ideal word to use. But this article promotes the importance of accepting that we are in a world where being independent would never be an option, have we no moments in life to accept that we as humans are interdependent on being independent. And we would not accomplish independence if we don’t accept the idea of being interconnected, therefore we would be disconnected.

    Anyone down for a game of poker? Wait, tonight is independent night. Anyone down for poker tomorrow?.. Independently spoken, hoping that one accepts my offer. Co-dependent. Can’t play by myself.. Does that make sense?

  3. Sean Says:

    Totally Sam…exactly the point I was making. Life is both.

  4. Javier Munoz Says:

    Hi Sean, wow! that’s a great comment. I enjoy having these exchanges so much! You mentioned that the fact that I cannot know how you feel makes it independent of me. That points to my personal inability to perceive your feelings which renders your thoughts private, but not necessarily independent. The holistic (non-separate) nature of your thoughts remains even if you and I are incapable of acknowledging it. Hence our inability to perceive this holistic fully associated essence of thoughts does not change it.

    The other point you make is also part of a truly remarkable paradox of nature. You mention that your living experience is independent because it is unique. Which begs the question, how can we live in a holistic universe of oneness if all manifestations in nature are unique? From microscopic organisms, to flowers, to humans we all are unique unrepeatable manifestations. Humans can express creatively and even have free will to make decisions on their own! Wouldn’t that show our inherent independence? There would not be unique manifestations in nature if these were not born from an infinite expanding source. Hence, your personal experience is not independent because it is unique, but on the contrary, it is unique because it is sourced by infinite oneness – where the concept of dependence or independence cannot describe anything.

    You also mention the domain of personal integrity and free will as a manifestation of your personal independence. I actually hold the same view. We are our own Gurus, we are the only ones that can take action and realize change in our lives. No one will be able to do it for us. However, your decisions are free, but within the confines of your own worldview. And your worldview is a function of years of learning from experiences that have given existential meaning to your life. Undoing conditioning inconsistent with the greater truth (what ever that may be) is what we do as we grow… Hence, even our free will to resolve internal issues depends on this life-long baggage.

    Thank you for this wonderful exchange! Fantastic, keep it coming. I would certainly love your opinion on My Universal Consciousness post which is foundational to this one. Very cool videos there too. Check it out.

  5. Javier Munoz Says:

    Hi Samuel, thank you for your contribution to this exchange! I understand your point… I touched on this yin-yang feature you talk about in the previous reply to Sean, The Universe enables our Unique Expression, as it is sourced from expanding oneness. It is a paradox that has been working for the last 13.8 billion years!

  6. Sean Says:

    Thanks for the reply Javier…I appreciate your openness in dialogue like this! I agree totally, it is a paradox, a yin-yang. An insightful person once suggested to me that we can be the circle that encompasses all the aspects of the yin-yang, instead of relegating ourselves to swinging between the polarities.

    I just wanted to make sure that independence wasn’t being misunderstood…and I see it isn’t. I’ll check out your other post shortly.

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