Friday, July 3, 2015

The State of Independence

No one is an island.
I've been thinking a lot about independence, specifically the ability to choose within a free framework, and the illusion of freedom.

It bothers me that anyone thinks they are free - that they are independent. No one really is. The idea that anyone can function in a vacuum, completely devoid of outside influences (total freedom, a nearly Buddhist state) is impossible in the material world.

You are not free.

There are levels, a spectrum of freedom, on which we can claim more choice or less. There are independent thinkers (I count myself one) who are able to observe a situation and choose based on their established principles and ideas as opposed to being swayed by popular opinion or carefully crafted marketing materials.

There are people who are independently wealthy (a flawed term, but for the purposed of discussion...) and able to control their environments by throwing money at problems, people, or things.

There are people who choose to isolate themselves from society, taking to the wilderness, foraging and homesteading as requirements dictate.

But in all these cases, pure independence, even in these situations, is impossible.

The independent thinker is dependent on their faculties of observation, their socialized influences, their friends, and the news for input to come to conclusions.

The independently rich person is entirely dependent on markets and systems that nurture wealth creation in order to maintain their status.

The hermit is dependent on the knowledge accumulated by society from generations in order to actively choose and succeed in his lifestyle of isolation.

The independent cannot function without outside assistance. They are, fundamentally, in relationship with the rest of the world. There is, no such thing, as independence (Happy Fourth!).

I can't help thinking about these things in relation to the work I do daily. While I am an independent author (i.e. not associated with a publisher) I do not function in a vacuum. I require many systems in place in order to do the work I do. In fact, without these systems, technological innovation, and the democratization of information, my work would be impossible. I would cease to be.

Unlike a large publishing house, I am a leaf on the wind. I can be blown this way or that by circumstances outside of my control. I can be crushed easily if systems are removed. I am still dependent.

More than anything, I am dependent on your support. You are my most crucial system, my most cherished dependency - my reader. To do what I do, I am dependent on everything you do - buying, reading, sharing, gifting, patronizing, encouraging, reviewing, and rating. And I am comfortable with this "vulnerability." So this weekend when my American readers are eating hamburgers, hot dogs, and shooting off fireworks, remember those people on whom you depend, and those who depend on you. We are all connected. We are all dependent. And that is a good thing.

As an indie author, I'm a bit like a local business and depend on the love and support of readers like you. Please check out my website where the "buy" links support me the most (and big business the least!). 

You can also support me through becoming a patron! Even $1 helps (but the more you support, the more rewards you get!)!

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