The Advent of the Year of the Horse: Vice and Virtue

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Firstly, we would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one! There’s so much to celebrate in life and all too frequently we choose to dwell on the negatives rather than the positives. Look at how the media reviews any year – it’s a catalogue of doom and […]

Seasonal Values – For Every Season: Joyfulness, 23nd December

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23. Joyfulness “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Buddha “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” E.E. Cummings “If we can just let go and trust that things will work out they way they’re […]

Seasonal Values – For Every Season: Empathy, 22nd December

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22. Empathy “When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” Susan Sarandon “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather […]

Seasonal Values – For Every Season: Benevolence, 19th December

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19. Benevolence “To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.” Adam Smith   “The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” Mahatma Gandhi Being truly benevolent asks nothing in return. […]

Seasonal Values – For Every Season: Patience, 18th December

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18. Patience “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” Winnie the Pooh   “Patience is a virtue. Possess it if you can.” Proverb ……………………………………………………………………….. Patience is ‘waiting under duress’, according to the definition in the dictionary. But should ‘patience’ be so frustrating? If you try to live in one […]

Seasonal Values – For Every Season: Loyalty, 17th December

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17. Loyalty “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” Josh Billings   “The scholar does not consider gold and jade to be precious treasures, but loyalty and faith.” Confucius “Loyalty is the pledge of truth to oneself and others.” Ada Velez Boardley The meaning of words […]

Seasonal Values – For Every Season: Independence, 16th December

16. Independence

“True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what’s right.”

Brigham Young

©3Di Associates Photography

©3Di Associates Photography

 “The man least dependent upon the morrow goes to meet the morrow most cheerfully.”



 “Solitude is independence.”

Herman Hesse

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.