“True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what’s right.”
“The man least dependent upon the morrow goes to meet the morrow most cheerfully.”
“Solitude is independence.”
George Bernard Shaw said, “Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.”
Ho Chi Minh said, “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty.”
Who’s right – Bernard Shaw or Ho Chi Minh? Can they both be correct in what they’re saying?
Sometimes this world of ours offers all sorts of paradoxes, and ideas that cancel one another out, but when you consider them together and separately they can make complete sense.
“Never the twain shall meet” is sometimes right, but other times it’s wrong. Two minds of completely different opinions can meet, if they can accept their differences and respect one another’s point of view.
Many people seem to interpret “yin and yang” as complete opposites – one good, one bad, one right one wrong. But that isn’t the case. This is why the two statements above from Bernard Shaw and Ho Chi Minh are both right, even though they seem to be saying completely different things about the same subject.
It’s good to be independent. It’s right to be independent. As Mae West says, “I’m single because I was born that way”. But that doesn’t mean complete solitude. It doesn’t mean that you need to shut yourself off and pretend that the rest of the world doesn’t exist.
We need to develop our independence, just as Ho Chi Minh said – of thought, of action, of imagination. It’s extremely liberating. We shouldn’t be reliant on others completely for our wellbeing and enjoyment of life, but neither should we be totally reliant on ourselves. George Bernard Shaw was right too. We are all dependent on one another, to some extent. Sometimes, we need others to bounce ideas off, to love and care for – and be loved and cared for, and to simply enjoy the pleasure of being together.
The trick is in the balance.
There is as much to value in independence as there is in togetherness. Times of solitude are vital for our wellbeing. “Dependence” is a difficult word. Nobody wants to be dependent upon any other living soul but there are times in life when dependency can work in a positive way; when people grow because they learn from others.
We can be dependent but not reliant on others. We can be independent but not remote from others.