Appreciating Dependencies on Independence Day

Published on July 4th, 2017
Individual pieces connect to form a bigger whole.

As my family prepares to head over to be with friends and family to celebrate the 4th of July, I found myself reflecting on and appreciating all the things that we depend on to make this day possible.

For starters, Mother Earth! How fortunate are we to even have a human race to begin with? We just happen to live on a planet that just happens to have the right amount of water and organic mater at just the right distance from the sun to sustain such a wonderful diversity of plants and animals. Without Mother Earth and the Sun, there would be no people.

Then there are our parents and ancestors. Yes, the Founding Fathers and all the men and women that fought beside them were exceptional people. But even they had generations and generations before them all the way back to the first agricultural societies. Things were a bit tough back then, but I’m grateful they had the intelligence and courage to give up their own way of living and adopt a completely new paradigm.

Then there are the geniuses of our past. The ones that made those massive breakthroughs across the fields of science, spirituality, law, etc. Can you imagine how hard it would be a big and powerful nation if were still in the stone age or if the Greeks hadn’t already demonstrated the success of the Athenian Democracy? Thank heavens for that!

Let’s fast forward to modern day. I’m incredibly grateful for the infrastructure that we have that allows us to connect. The roads and airports that allow us to traverse any and all distances to see each other in person. And then there are fiber lines and cell towers that allow us to call each other or connect with each other on the internet. This ability to connect is what also allows us to stay informed and keep others accountable, which is incredibly important in sustaining the very rights and liberties we acknowledge and celebrate today.

Of course, let us not forget all the necessary requirements to keep and maintain our society. We that military and police forces. We have the courts and legislatures. We have all the departments necessary to keep things running (even if they are inefficient AF).

Lest we start thinking about or own independence and how we may resonate with the belief that we are “self-made”, let us not forget the parents that parented us, the mentors that mentored us, the teachers that taught us, and the friends that befriended us. There are also those chance encounters with strangers and/or angels in human clothing. Those little moments that changed the direction of our lives, whether or not we noticed it or not. We live in the age of infinity, where anyone in the world can get a university level education for the cost of a wifi connection. An age where the opportunity for changing one’s life is almost limitless even if it can be challenging with no guarantees.

While this is all very stream of consciousness, I felt compelled to share because this is another representation of how much my thinking has evolved over the years. I used to identify very strongly with the libertarian party, which places a significant emphasis on the power of and the importance of individual rights. However, one day an acquaintance of mine tweeted a snarky 4 word summary of the libertarian philosophy as “I am an Island”. That struck a nerve, mostly because I’ve come to realize the importance of approaching anything and everything from a holistic point of view. We know from the study of game theory and chaos theory that life can be highly non-linear, and that small changes in one place can make a big impact in other areas in unexpected and sometimes paradoxical ways.

Getting back on topic, yes the USA won its independence and that kicked off the growth of one of the greatest nations this world has ever seen. But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that we are an island as a nation or as individuals. Even “self-made” millionaires and billionaires did not start from nothing (like our cave dwelling ancestors) and they could not have become what they did without others believing in and buying from them.

We live within this amazing paradox of being incredibly independent and yet incredibly dependent at the same time, and that’s OK! Let us appreciate our independence while we acknowledge the things we depended on to get and stay here.

PS. For those wondering by I picked the image I did. The thing that came to mind is individuals connecting to form a bigger whole.

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.