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Inter-Reliance, Self-Dependence & Responsibility

I feel I need to revisit this topic. I don’t know when I first visited it (yet you might want to check out the homepage @ Wants.Blog [ ] ) — maybe the whole idea of revisiting something was introduced to me by F. Scott Fitzgerald — I enjoyed a lot of his stories, and the whole notion of “Babylon Revisited” had intrigued me immediately when I first read the title. I can’t even remember if the biblical city played any role in it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is beyond the shadow of a doubt another key influencer of my thoughts here, particularly his essay on “Self Reliance” which ought to be required reading for anyone expecting to achieve a high-school diploma.

But perhaps the most influential of all influences was an idea I learned about in one of my college economics classes: “inter-dependence” (and yet again undoubtedly a precursor to this notion was the mathematical concept of dependent vs. independent variables). Dependence and independence are quite heavy issues, and they are sort of in contrast to Emerson’s very well-written treatise.

Over the years and decades many other influencers have off and on appearances — for example, Mark Twain’s “throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails”. All in all, I’m also confident that anyone with just a speck of interest in such topics will be able to quite easily discover vast amounts of more literature on these and related topics.

It ought to be no wonder that since I am so much about language, responsibility is also an important cornerstone in my own world-view. Being a responsible person means (more or less) to be able to respond to questions.

Note that insofar as here in Germany there is all-of-a-sudden a great awakening towards an awareness of a wide variety of “environmental” issues — such as … not only global warming, but also stuff like the price of fossil fuels, and also global energy sources, other natural resources worldwide… — the overall environment within which I am writing is characterized by nothing short of a quite generalized alarming shock.

Whether innocence or ignorance or maybe even a surprising amount of belief in propaganda are to blame is not the issue here per se. The most important issue is that people ought to acquire enough literacy skills to realize that everyone is responsible for their own beliefs. This is the first and most fundamental step that Emerson described so well in his appeal for people to become self-reliant (and I am quite sure he was not neglecting Immanual Kant’s contribution [“What is Enlightenment?”] ).

I think my own contribution to this general field will be the idea of inter-reliance. I remember once seeing a film about Pelé (the soccer player) in grade school in which the narrator commented that he felt that Pelé seemed able to recover from almost any difficulty by using not only his legs but also his arms to get back on his feet and thereby to mesmerize the crowds of fans watching into a state of astonished wonder. I feel this image underscores very well the way we ourselves choose to rely on something (or not) — and how our abilty to distribute our reliance judiciously will ultimately be crucial to the survival of our species (and also likewise for any species).

Otherwise, I expect nature will at some point consider us to be “disposable”.


By New Media Works

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