Independence Day (US) LO28817

From: Jan Lelie (
Date: 07/10/02

Replying to LO28808 --

Good morning At, readers,

The issue of (in)dependence is interesting to me. Smith and Berg in
Paradoxes in Group Life, (see, i'm no independent thinker myself) write:

"The metaphor for the paradox of dependency is ecological. For any part of
the system to be able to act indepedently, it must accept its dependency
on the other parts with which it makes up a whole".

They notice that (in)dependency is also connected to (dis)trusting, or
(not) being able to trust, the other. When one is independent, one doesnot
have to trust the other or others. So, i think, striving for independence
might become a source for untrustworthyness. In my experience, lack of
trust or distrust leads to building stocks, inventories, hedging, taking
precautions. There is a systems archetype at work here. Striving for
independence - Success to the Successful - leads to economic growth. These
stocks, this growth cannot grow without end. On the one hand, because it
becomes physical impossible - limiting condition -, on the other hand
because the unsignificant other - those who are untrustworthy, remember,
start to rebel - your solution is my problem -. To me one of the clear
signs that this is the case, is the very notion that there is an outside
party - outside the system, God - in who we put our trust and that the
notion that you may have another opinion or even that this notion can be
harmful, is made undiscussable. Soon one reaches a situation in which
there are independent parties distruting each other while trying to defend
their rightful possessions. To me it isn't a surprise that the parties
have different Gods, or even the same one with different names. In the
end, both, all, get stuck in a Tragedy of the Commons.

So striving for independence leads us to a Tragedy of the Commons,
reinforcing what we'd already assumed: the other is not to be trusted and
it is better to be independent. "To be independent but not connected" -
i'm quoting again - "is nothing more than isolation. To be dependent with
no sense of autonomy is symbiotic enslavement". Hmmm, can you think of
examples? Or can you think of any actual situation that is not an example
of this?

If it is any help, i would suggest that help from the outside is not the
way out, because it implicitely conveys messages of dependence to the
helped - 'look how dependent we are on outside help' - and independence of
the helper - 'see how we're able to help others' - thus keeping intact the
sense of untrustworthyness. In the end, through chains of events like
Shifting the Burden and Addiction Loops, dependence - and frustration -
will have grown.

Is there no way out? Well, no if you want to "solve" the problem of
distrust and dependency by abolishing them. In the long run, this will
only lead to an increase of mutual dependency. But there is a brave way:
express as an individual your dependencies, your trust on your own groups
even if there is as yet no reason to trust them. Create a network of
interdependencies that frees individuals from "independence" based on
fear. The important task of a leader is to accept fears by showing the
courage to affirm life in spite of ambiguity. Interdepence Day will be a
Monday (# how i hate Monday #).

It is a long road, but time is on our side.


Jan Lelie

AM de Lange wrote:

> Thank you for copying the significant parts of the Declaration. I still
> remember how I felt in 1968 after having seen the document for the first
> time here in South Africa. I longed for something similar for our own
> country divided by apartheid. But it took another 28 years before our
> constitution for the new South Africa was signed into law on 10 December
> 1996.
> For those interested , here is the preamble to our own constitution:


> We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this
> Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to ≠
> Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society
> based on democratic values, social justice and
> fundamental human rights;
> Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society
> in which government is based on the will of the people
> and every citizen is equally protected by law;
> Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the
> potential of each person; and
> Build a united and democratic South Africa able to
> take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family
> of nations.
> May God protect our people.
> Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika. Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso.
> God seŽn Suid-Afrika. God bless South Africa.
> Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afurika. Hosi katekisa Afrika.
> ~~~~~~~~


> ALL our own problems have one thing in common -- although we are an
> independent nation, we cannot act as if we are independent from the rest
> of Africa as well as from a global economy and global ecology. Jan Smuts,
> father of holism and prime minister of the Union of South Africa (1936-48)
> knew it too well. He acted accordingly, not imagining that he would lose
> the elections to apartheid. The basic idea of apartheid was for white
> people to live as independently as possible from the rest of Africa and
> even Africans within its borders. After forty years it became clear to all
> the peoples of South Africa that this is impossible.
> Many of our problems have been caused by other nations serving their own
> interests in the past. Many of these nations are now willing to help us
> solve our problems, but again with their own interests still having
> priority. This means only one thing -- the continuation and intensifying
> of these problems rather than their solution.
> I personally think that saving Africa has to begin by helping South Africa
> to solve its most urgent problems without wanting anything back for it --
> a kind of Marshall plan. South Africa is the door into Africa, the example
> which all the other African nations can follow. South Africa is the place
> where Wester, Eastern and African peoples are learning to join hands.
> May Indepedence Day this year bring more hope and insight to the USA
> nation.
> With care and best wishes


With kind regards - met vriendelijke groeten,

Jan Lelie

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