Self-Reliance vs. Interdependence

I remember my survival skills training as a Boy Scout.  There was something seemingly terribly important about learning how to start a fire, find food in the wilderness, and to stay safe.  We read about these things, talked about them in groups, and then went into the woods to practice our craft.  Merit badges were only part of the reward; there was something deeply satisfying about becoming self-reliant.

Perhaps you also remember the TV series with Bear Grylls where he would go into situations that even I would have no idea how to survive, often with a frail female companion to further complicate his efforts.

Our lives today have become so complex that we can no longer be self-reliant like that.  We depend upon a host of medical practitioners rather one family doctor … after all, today everyone is a specialist.  We probably can’t do our tax returns, maintain our cars or properties, or even manage our families without help.  Then, when things go wrong, we are often dependent upon a host of people we barely know.  Thankfully most of them are honest and helpful.

So, with this increased level of interdependence, why doesn’t that show in our behaviors?  When I was a child, I was told that you never talk about three things: sex, politics, and religion.  Maybe we should take those out of our narratives once again since the current polarizing forces on these is so debilitating.

We take sides on almost any and every issue these days, as if we knew for sure

we were right, and by standing our ground, the others would give in to us.  We seem way too content to just keep insisting on our ways rather than to find common or even higher ground to do something that will help.

We can call this by a nice word like polarization as if that somehow makes it acceptable.  Labels never really change situations for the better.  We need to work on things, adjust our paths, and push for progress.

Let’s work together to create jobs for everyone who wants to work, and inspire the ones who do not, to see that working leads to a better world for themselves and their families.


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