The long, low rumble of an approaching storm awakened me at 3am. Flashes of light sliced the white wooden slats of the shutters that cover my bedroom windows. A thunderclap shook the room. Going back to sleep was not an option.
I began to think. First, about what day it is, July 4, 2016, Independence Day here in the United States, then about what independence means to me.
I believe independence is knowing your own mind. It is choosing for yourself and not permitting your mind to play tricks on you about the choices that you make. Independence is not isolation. Independence is acknowledging the validity of your own judgement while accepting the limitations of that judgement. It is, in fact, the freedom to choose interdependence over isolation.
I recently returned from Romania where even after almost three decades since the fall of Communism, the older generation is still acutely distrustful. Partnerships are approached with cautious optimism, and for good reason; public trust is still routinely dealt a death blow at local and federal levels. This is something that is equally familiar to Americans.
The future, which requires engaged dialogue about poverty, violence, and corruption, seems tied inextricably to the past. By engaged dialogue I mean more than merely shouting opinions at one another. The ebb and flow of independence and interdependence over time calls for leaders to respect the balance of power, to take responsibility for their own poor judgement, and above all else, to never underestimate people who desire to assert their independence.
As the storm rages on and the power continues to flicker, the dawn’s early light reveals what I know in my heart to be true; the land of the free and the home of the brave can be wherever we choose it to be. That is the beauty of independence.
9 thoughts on “Independence”
Not an American so Independence Day has no meaning for me, at least not in the same way, but I too believe that Interdependence is the equal partner of independence. Just as you can’t have freedom in a vacuum, you can’t be independent on a desert island with just yourself to worry about. In biology we’re finally learning that co-operation is just as vital as competition in the survival of the /species/.
How true! That’s politics in a nutshell. Allies and adversaries make the world go round.
and make us dizzy in the process!
Funny how independence, the word, is a mashup of “in dependence” and yet its literal meaning is the very opposite.
Great pics and a wonderful perspective!
Mr. Petruska, you are quite the wordsmith. Nice to hear from you.
Welcome home and thanks for sharing your thoughts today.
Thanks Allan. It’s true, there is no place like home.
Complex thoughts at early hours! Interdependence as independence seems oxymoronic but is a well-described reality. We were taught that an individual’s freedom ends where another’s begins. Not exactly interdependence but an awareness of the rights of others, something decidedly lacking in some rhetoric today. In order to have a more peaceful, and thus more perfect, union, interdependence should be acknowledged.
Agreed. I don’t know how a union could exist without interdependence.