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I'm continuing my reporting on the next installment from Conservative Estimate, the recently founded website that is devoted to demolishing Conservatism.

Yesterday, Alfred George began to discuss the Myth of Independence, the belief that the strong succeed in life on their own. He pointed out that this notion just doesn’t hold up when compared to reality.

Today Mr. George begins to look at evidence from Religion and Science that also refutes this Myth, and he finishes by noting that the very existence of Society testifies against the Myth.

We take up his argument just after the graceful orange coils.

He begins by saying that both Religion and Science reject independence in favor of interdependence.

Any bona fide religion—that is, one that tries to connect human beings with a spiritual source—reminds us repeatedly that we are our brothers’ keepers. If there is a God who created and who maintains the entire universe, then all of us must be connected back to him, even though the nexus may be invisible to us in our daily lives. At that central point, our individual existences must come together, and it would be impossible to distinguish any longer between “us” and “them.” The message of true religion is that, in some fundamental and essential way, we are all the same. Religion taken seriously should lead to mutual connection rather than noxious contention, and to a penetrating appreciation of the interdependence of all beings.

Science also has come to the understanding that all things are profoundly interdependent. Quantum physics, the science of the smallest constituents of matter, has discovered that the particles (or waves) that make up all matter are connected with one another so intensely that neither time not space can separate them. Once two particles interact, their connection remains, and changing one of them results in a change in the other, no matter how far away it is.

He then points out how belief in this Myth leads to bad behavior.
To the extent that we are unaware of the innumerable connections between us and others, or keep ourselves in a mindset where we deny those connections, we are likely to behave selfishly, just as the Myth of Self-interest prescribes. . . .

Many people, under the influence of the Major Myths, have chosen to believe that they have few if any connections binding them to everyone and everything. Of course, life may at times demand that we stand on our own two feet, think for ourselves, and persevere though our own strength and stamina. But it hardly demands these things all the time. In fact, it calls much more for working together with others, for helping others as well as accepting help in return, and for contributing to the common good by playing a responsible role in society.

Finally, he mentions the facts that we would not live in society if we were independent beings.
[A]rcheology, oral tradition, history, and natural philosophy all agree that one the earliest acts of human beings was to come together. . . . Why would this happen if we could live perfectly well on our own? Why would we join together if we could meet all our needs alone?

The simple fact is that we are not self-sufficient. . . . We are social beings, and that means we are interdependent.

You can read the whole post here.

Tomorrow Mr. George will continue his discussion of the Myth of Independence,. He will show why belief in this notion makes Mythers irresponsible and ungrateful, and how this Myth corrupts society.

I’ll be reporting back each day as a new installment appears.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The myth serves a purpose. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spacejam, ThePlainThinker, Chi

    Most of us are familiar with the phrase "divide and conquer" as if it were a two-step process, in which one step does not necessarily follow the other. In reality, at least in the world of the predator, division or separation is in preparation for the conquest. The wolf separates the lamb from the herd to make it easier to take down and devour. In the long term, the wolf's habit actually serves to promote the perpetuation of the "social" gene that keeps the herd together because independent-minded youngsters who lag behind or wander are more likely to be "picked off."  That is, they do not survive to maturity to reproduce.  So, the independence gene remains recessive, unless some new behavior is adopted by the whole herd and promotes their survival.

    Anyway, some humans are predators and exploit other humans and that exploitation is easier, if they can get the prey alone. So they tout independence as a good and flatter the person they aim to abuse. Unlike natural predators, humans don't kill to eat. They just exploit their own kind until they wear out.
    I suspect it is hard for social creatures to distinguish between use and abuse. Why would their own kind mean them harm? They understand revenge for injury done, but why would anyone mean good people harm? The answer, I suspect, is that innocent people taken by surprise are less likely to fight back. Predators are cowards. The cowardly lion is not an anomaly. A solitary lion will always be cowed by a herd of bovines.  There is strength in union. Union is a word unpleasant to an exploiter's ear.

    Perhaps we should take another look at the 47% Willard claimed to disregard. Since they ended up voting for him, perhaps the allegory of the fox and the grapes is more apt. After all, the fox's disdain for the "sour" grapes is aimed at the crow, which is to be persuaded into leaving the grapes alone to fully ripen and fall to the ground where the fox can easily get them.

    How did the Republican party devolve into the party of con men?  Birds of a feather flock together.  The con men, people who are against things, are really the ex-men.  They

    Explore
    Examine
    Extort
    Exploit
    Exhaust
    Extract
    Excavate
    Exterminate
    Exact

    They are the take-out guys. Willard amidst the pizza boxes is iconic.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:20:46 AM PST

Chi

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