...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Are you independent?

Seriously, are you?

And not in a capital-I political Independent sort of way.  A lot of people register as Independent when the political parties don't tilt far enough to the Left or Right for their desires.

But are your thoughts independent from political parties?  Are your choices independent from the one-dimensional shorthand labels of the extremes of the political spectrum: Left and Right?

Are your consumer choices free from brand slavery?  Do you buy only one company's computing products?  Do you go grocery shopping at the same store every time?  Are you buying the same bread every week?  Do you depend on consumerism to illuminate your life?

Do you fully understand the religious or scientific method by which you determine your existence?  If not, then why remain dependent on that structure?  Or why not dig further?

Are you dependent on family?  On your locality's power grid?  Are your decisions limited by a dependence on income?  Are you independent from monogamy?  From the opinions of others?

Are you dependent on sugar?  On caffeine?  On alcohol?  On television?  To what level and why?

Are you dependent on a strict structure to your day?  Do you depend on your morning run?  Are you independent from your cell phone?  Are you dependent on your online life?

Are you independent from your glasses?

*steps back from mirror*

*can't see a damn thing, puts glasses back on*

*realizes there's an audience*

Oh sh*t.  I mean, hello!  Happy Independence Day, Yanks!

More than two centuries ago, a group of folks made the decision to sever their ties with a system they had been dependent on.  While many of those same folks suffered or died from those choices, the group result was an earned independence and the creation of a new way of life.

On all Jewish holidays, we of that faith are asked to consider the bold actions of a small group of people from many centuries or millennia ago.  We examine how those past choices reflect on our present lives.  Are there things we could be doing differently?  Could our lives, as well as lives of others, be bettered through similar (parallel, no matter how small) commitments?  Then a little action is encouraged.

This part of my background has me pondering similar things on this American Independence Day.

Are there things you rely on to get up in the morning, get through your day, and sleep soundly at night?  Can you remove your dependence on one more of those things and still feel your heartbeat?  Or are there certain levels of servitude or reliance in which we choose to enlist because they paint us in a good light when we look in the mirror?  Are there certain things we submit to because they make us better souls?

Or has "independence" become an abstract noun?  And if so, how do we celebrate it today?

While we have our traditions -- barbecue, baseball, beer, and big fireworks (needed that 'B') -- maybe we should take a moment to consider which of our dependencies make us better people and which ones we should shed.

And then write a blog post.