Recently, I have been thinking about independence. Oftentimes we call ourselves independent when we start making decisions for ourselves or earning our living. When it comes to financial independence, it makes sense – when we grow up and start working, we become financially independent from our parents. However, what about the choices and decisions that we make? Are they truly independent?
An adjective ‘independent’ is defined as ‘not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself’. My problem with this definition is that in our complex world it’s almost impossible not to be influenced by anything or anyone. Unless we live a life of a hermit, hidden away from the society and technology, we are always surrounded by the media, people, information which all subconsciously form our opinions on different topics. Even when making our life choices, our minds are full of images of what the right things to do are. These can be planted by our families, friends, the books we have read and the kind of programmes we have watched. In this complex structure, can our opinions and decisions be truly and utterly independent and ‘ours’?
In the end, I believe that we have one choice that we can indeed make. We can choose the sources of influence. We can choose who we spend time with, what we read or watch. In this way at least can we somewhat independently form our way of thinking. That’s why I encourage you to choose consciously. Reclaim the ownership of your mind and your life today!
Good observation. A slight variation on this question of freedom; are we really free if we are taught that debt is good. Get what you want, when you want it. You deserve it.
I think its a crime that our society, which teaches free market capitalism and all it’s benefits, doesn’t teach basic economics. The average college grad has no clue how to manage their finances and with credit card companies hovering, deep in student loan debt, they spread their wings and take to living life. Free to choose, independent, and on their own. Really?
With no financial training, loads of debt, they jump on the treadmill in the middle of the rat race. Most will never be truly free because of debt that they gladly take on because the government offers free money for school, credit card companies offer free money for what is deserved, and the treadmill awaits.
Good point! I think that this way we are delegating a part of responsibility for our choices and actions to the society, which is a very bad thing.
Can you even choose sources of influence? I suppose, within the narrow confines of your context. In a broader context it is quite uncertain. I take it you are from the US and your sources by and large are US sources expressing US values and views. A very narrow choise indeed. But then, I may be unfair, perhaps you have a broad international outlook seeking understanding how people across your national borders view life. In the end, as you say, one can but try to choose by whom one is influenced. And try to analyze the agenda of one’s sources
Yep, I can see your point. Then also comes a question if our choices themselves can ever be truly independent… Which I think they might not be.
I am actually from Poland and I have also lived in Switzerland for some time. I hang around in very international environment and I always try to observe and compare without judgement the views and values of different people. Still, it is indeed true that my views might be influenced by my culture and the environment I grew up in just as much as for anyone else…
Anyway, I think the least we can do is observe and try to evaluate the sources we’re surrounded with.
I really agree with your thoughts 🙂 very well said!
Thank you! 🙂
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Very good post with interesting thought. I’ve also been thinking about these things a lot. E.g.: Independence, Freedom, Freedom of Speech, etc.
I very much agree with you that there is no real independence. Being aware of that is important.
Thank you! Totally, I think awareness is the first step to expanding our independence/freedom to some extent.
I like your article on True Independence. And I hope you enjoyed my post on Fifty Shades. It’s what forming one’s own opinion is all about. Thank you for your ‘follow’.
Somewhere I read an anynymous quote that said I’m a part of everyone I’ve met. You’re independent to choose the quantity of that flavor you want to add to the drink of your personality.
I really love your thought about what independence really is nowadays. Some people make a bad choice about choosing what sources that they wanted to believe in and living a miserable life.
The choice is in your hand
Very insightful and thought provoking. Our lives are so intertwined with our fellow human beings, we will be impacted by people around us and we will impact them as well. Thanks for your thoughts.
Very good post, I believe you are right as we are pounded every step of the way with advertisements, commercials, etc. Subliminal thoughts that get into our minds each day. Thank you for stopping by my blog and following, I have followed in return.
I think it’s a matter of interdependence rather than complete independence..:)
An interesting though to ponder about. My take is that in finance & life in general, we always have choices & yet we are never truly independent. The truth differs for each individual but probably lies somewhere in between.
Just came across this blog…wonderful..
Much wisdom in your post, Magadalena.
Thanks for following my blog.
You might want to refer to Immanuel Kant here. He says that your choices are not free as long as they are not “autonomous”. Think of it like a piece of stone falling from the top of a tower — we say that it’s in “free fall”. But, is it? It’s under the influence of the force of gravity.
Similarly, we, as humans — who Kant says are to be respected because we have the capacity to think — are not making a free choice unless we have, through our own reason, found value in the end that we are trying to achieve.
Check out Michael Sandel on Kant at http://www.justiceharvard.org/2011/02/episode-06/