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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Finding My Way

 "No man is an island." - John Donne

Almost four hundred years have passed since the opening five words of John Donne's poem reminded us of our interdependence. What might Donne have been facing when he wrote those words? 

Many of us are taught to not be dependent on others. I certainly internalized that lesson at a young age and as a parent I extolled independence while raising my daughter. Still, I wonder. When we lose sight - even temporarily - of the web connecting us to others, what price might we pay? Or, put another way: When we believe we achieve what we do without help from others, who are we forgetting to acknowledge?    

I've spent more than seventy-one years claiming independence as a credo. Today, interdependence strikes me as a more sustainable and humane path forward. I am not an island. If adopting that posture makes me more vulnerable, or susceptible to being hurt or betrayed, or looking weak to some, I'm OK with all that.   

 

4 comments:

  1. If nothing else, the pandemic has taught us this. Although I would use the term interconnectedness...if that is even a word.

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  2. Ines; Thanks for comment. Although I didn't have the pandemic in mind writing this post, you are right on target observing how this crisis has indeed deepened our need for interdependence/interconnectedness, notwithstanding all those who deny it.

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  3. I feel very much like you do, Pat. When I was younger, I encountered quite a bit of information that encouraged the independence of the individual over the demands of the collective. Nothing wrong with that idea except that life isn't all one way or the other. There are too many cross currents and complexities that make an all or nothing attitude crippling. A lot is hanging in the balance over how well we can make interdependence work given all of the challenges we face as families and as a country. I am cautiously optimistic we will succeed.

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    1. Steve; Thanks for the continuing support of my blog. In your comment I especially like the way you phrased "...cross currents and complexities.." And I agree the challenges we face at present call for interdependence vs. the myth of the rugged individual.

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