The Fault of Unnecessary Dependence -- How to Nurture our Inner Potential
Updated: Sep 16
A most spreaded problem in today’s world is the false belief that we may only find true fulfillment and happiness by having and connecting to external material and entities. This leads us to a point of depending and needing them to function and to thrive in whatever we may do in our lives. Be it friends, be it love, be it wealth, be it power. But as Henrik Ibsen has put it: “The strongest man upon the earth is he who stands most alone.”
By aspiring for more and more material and manpower to belong to us or to be part of our lives, many of us delude ourselves by believing we're living "the full life" while in practice many of us are enslaved to our own passions, by positioning them in a rank where they dictate our lives and happiness.
In western society we grow up believing that there is a certain way of life which is the healthiest and happiest one to live: engaging in various social activities, hanging out, leading a romantic life, do whatever our urges dictate us, avoid extensive solitude and so forth. This system of socialization is enslaving in a way that make us live, behave and think in not by our own terms and individual principles, but by norms, conventions, culture and conformity. In my opinion this socialization’s main motive is to convince us that being alone with ourselves is a problem solved by indulging in more conformative thoughts and activities, or, in other words, to escape from being with ourselves.
Perhaps Nietzsche was right: this world is behaving according to slave morality. Many of us tend to follow norms and trends not necessarily and entirely by our own personal preferences, but also from the fear of being left behind or being alone.
When I browsed on topics which regard solitude and singlehood on Quora, I found many questions which simply ask if it is okay for people to live by themselves, being single, not having a social life, and so forth. In an age where we are allowed to not conform, one should really ask themselves, why do we require other's approval to live in a certain way?
Here is an insight: to live the life of a master of their own path, one should evaluate and consider the importance of detachment. Whether we detach from social activities, needy relationships, others' expectations and dictations -- the more we detach externally, the more we independent we can grow.
In this age of constant connection to the world, we tend to forget the next insight: that we are distinctive and separated individuals, who are and can operate independently of external dictation. Many of us are so anxious by thinking what others will think of them if they shall engage in activities and thoughts that may not be normative, but may interest them personally without any regards to society. They, in a way, repress who they are in favor of others. And the thing is, the world might as well not care if they die. That's because alienation is a natural feature in our world.
In other words, many of us conform for the sake of many people, AKA society, who do not really care for us. We may give up on who we are just for them. Just so we won't be marked as outsiders. Do you see the hypocrisy? The hypocrisy on depending ourselves, and our worth, on a system of norms that disregards us as individuals?
Let me tell you yet another insight: your life belongs to you, not to other people, no matter how dear and intimate you are for them.
A self-master is one who knows that life isn't worth spending by copying and mimicking norms and conformities. In terms of language which shapes our mindset, we tend to judge other people and ourselves according to stereotypes.
One popular stereotype is the "Normal Person". This person lives life according to what we may see on advertisements and popular media; they have a socially rich life, they are well accepted into society, lead well-managed romantic lives, and sees life with a simple-minded perspective, without thinking too much.
What is the purpose of living and thinking normally but to live according to external dictations?
Why are many of us so dependent on other entities to approve our lifestyle and mindset? Why should we fear what others may think of us? What's scary about being with ourselves?
Let me tell you the following: there is no escape from solitude.
No matter how much of a rich social life you may manage, you cannot deny the eventual manifestation of being alone, from occuring. We are individuals because we are distinct from other individuals, and that distinction comes from the inevitable fact that we are alone.
And the more we distinguish ourselves, the more we actualize our individual merits and capabilities. By being intensively social, all we do is simply pushing aside something which shall arrive no matter how much we shall attempt to reject it. And that, is solitude.
This fear of solitude has no place in a the life of the independant man or woman, and emotional dependence on other people to fulfill your overall satisfaction, is a dependence of slaves who are afraid to find themselves on their own. Thus to be fit (not only physically) is to be autonomous. To be fit for life means to be fit to the reality that one way or another, solitude will find us. Because even if we are married until elderly age, one of the partners may die, and we will have to age alone as widows and widowers. The more we endure extensive solitude, the mentally stronger and independent we become as distinct individuals.
Having a social, material, or political power is a collective illusion; a power which is external and at times unstable. You can find self sufficent-power from within that does not depend as much on the external world. The more mature we become, the tougher we get. The tougher we are, the more capable we become to endure the absence of social distractions and stimulation.
Therefore, I come to this conclusion regarding dependence: Dependence beyond its basic standards, i.e., complex and unnecessary dependence, is weakness. Since so much of us praise conformity and the followship of norms and trends, many of us are mentally weak. That is because we are weak by ourselves, when we over-rely on others. The vaccum of another's presence creates a necessary opportunity for us to become stronger at least mentally. And the stronger we get the less we may need others for our overall wellbeing.
The path to competent and enduring strength comes from within. The more your strengths originate from within, the more resilient, brave, and strong you will become.
Solitude is a state of being where one separates themselves from their external/social strengths and reputations in order to expose oneself to the depths of undiscovered mental prowess. By "mental prowess," I infer to everything which comes purely from within you and not from others which you may be dependent upon. That is also known as the self beyond the external world.
In each and every one of us, there is immense power which has yet to be actualized. It is hindered by the world, and it's one of the many reasons true love is rare in it. Becuase it takes strength to fully accept people for who they are, let alone, love the entirety of their being. As such, following the norms can be regarded as an act of cowardice, as the norms call to restrain the self when it can be too uncomfortable. And many people fear discomfort.
I believe that the concept of stupidity comes from lack of inner actualization, since wisdom is an internal merit. The less we actualize our pure selves (i.e., us as ourselves, with no masking), the more incompetent, shallow, simple-minded, and wasted we become. We mustn't under-utilize our potential if we want to be wiser. It's simply because our wisdom, along with our other gifts, are hindred by the conformity to depend. It keeps us away from our internal power. Thus, in order to actualize ourselves, and become the best verisons of ourselves, we must grow more independent of anything that hinders us and does not have to legitimately. We must grow more assertive, even if it intimidates those who lack self confidence.
There is no need to be heavily engaged in social and romantic activities to fulfill one's existential void; an existential void like loneliness, although it can help being filled by deep and meaningful connections, can be re-opened again, once these connections are gone.
As a finish, I shall tell an anecdote. Diogenes, an ancient Greek philosopher, lived in a barrel, literally, and had little property beyond it. One day, Alexander the Great came to him and asked if he needed anything.
Diogenes said: "Yes, I need something from you - to stay away; you are blocking the sun."
In unnecessary dependence, our inner sun is blocked.