by Kate Cahill From the Stop 5G International team
The Fourth of July celebrates the day the thirteen colonies in the “New World” declared their independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain. What is independence? How does it enrich our culture and our minds? Are we beings that depend on each other or depend on each other…or maybe both? And can there be merit in recognizing and celebrating on this day (or another) our interdependence with all life and the earth?
Independence vs. interdependence
Independence is the freedom of an entity to operate without control or coercion on the other. Independence is achieved by defending oneself and defending one’s own efficacy. Feeling self-sufficient can increase independence, as in the case of a child who no longer needs or is dependent on a parent or guardian.
Interdependence occurs when two or more entities are mutually dependent on one another. Interdependence is a fact of the natural world in which we humans play an essential role. Nature is inherently one large organism/system that is deeply interconnected.
As an interconnected being, we depend on each other and need each other. We’re on the same “team,” and we feel invested in our team’s successes, failures, and challenges. Because the team’s success is our success, and the team’s challenge is the challenge we face.
We communicate instinctively to help our teammates. Help may sometimes include applying a painful medication; But with the understanding of our interdependence, even this is done with loving care. We want our team – ourselves – to heal, live, and thrive.
Our civilization is made up of separate entities: individuals, an army, a government, or a human community, each of which acts on and mostly controls one or more entities. History can be viewed as a two-way dance of hierarchy between superior and subordinate in which the subordinate (subordinate) suffers a loss of agency and may eventually seek independence. In some cases, this leads to conflict or war.
If we view others as secret entities separate from ourselves, often competing for limited resources and love, there is a greater potential for the inevitable underlying conflict – because one person’s abundance may be seen as dependent on another’s scarcity. The pervasiveness of this way of perceiving and acting in the world results in a top-down model in which the person at the top envisions and imposes policies and habits for themselves, who they see and/or who they actually depend on.
If we feel our mutual interdependence and inherent unity, what follows naturally is respect and care for all living things and for the earth itself. That’s why the other goes, so go first. We are moving from a place where we view ourselves and others as separate beings either controlled or controlled by someone else, to interdependence where we understand and feel that we, all living things, the earth and the heavens are one interdependent and dependent being.
Residing only in the independence/dependency model of the world, if left unchecked, can lead to societal actions that may bring us to the brink of extinction – for example nuclear war, 5G/satellite/internet of things/artificial intelligence/tyrannical warfare systems, or climate they change.
But if we only live in a world of interdependence, and do not instinctively acknowledge our perceived individual identity, we risk being unable to function practically in the world where we need at least some minimal “self” to search for food, shelter, and meaning.
Ideally, “I am a separate entity” and “all-life” worldviews could work synergistically together, each offering its own gift, together or sometimes alternately, for our perception, understanding, and navigation of the world.
Our sense of interdependence is uprooted
At this time, our sense of interdependence is uprooted. The metaphorical “umbilical cord” that connects us to Mother Earth has been cut. We are increasingly trapped in cyberspace and becoming more dependent on technology for our basic needs, whether it is for sustenance, news, entertainment, a sense of belonging or friendship. Our growing disconnect from each other and from the land is becoming more evident through lockdowns, disinformation, social distancing, and greater reliance on digital texts and audio “bytes.”
Inundated with “information pollution” — the vast amount of information and communication that floods us daily — these things are becoming “cheap” and less substantial. In the same way that we are still hungry after eating a meal full of junk foods that provide empty calories but little or no nutritional value, the information we drink from our vetted, information-tainted way of life makes us hungry for meaning and real. A global connection between people.
Moreover, the communications themselves have turned into disinformation and censorship. It is often not possible to verify the “facts”. We can no longer rely on language to be the “bridge” that connects us to each other. Not unlike the story of the Tower of Babel – the famous biblical symbol of one person’s separation from another – we no longer speak the same language, that is, language no longer functions reliably as the connective tissue that binds us together when embedded in an individual’s mentality of identity.
The world seeks to correct itself
Although we, as a species, are now out of balance and wreak havoc on all life, the world (like all living things) seeks self-correcting…to healing, and another transformation occurs simultaneously. More and more people are waking up to understand our inherent unity and deep care for Mother Earth. Many choose to flee urban areas to live off the land and connect with friends and community at the local level – one-on-one, face-to-face, and heart-to-heart.
Should we turn back the clocks… go back in time? Or could the dissolution of true communication be the birth pangs of a new way of understanding reality that transcends language? Could it be a harbinger of a time (again) when we become intimately aware of our connection to all life, and no longer rely solely on the “crutch” of language, information, and facts? A time to “get” things intuitively, deeply, thoughtfully, feeling whole… but this time, with something new added.
What is different now?
The world of the twenty-first century offers unique possibilities that were not available in previous times. We now have a new tool, the Internet, that allows us to find out what is happening in remote parts of the world. Indeed, although the Internet originated, and is an integral part of the “I am a separate entity” worldview, if used well, it can affirm, and even enhance, society’s understanding of our mutual interdependence.
Empathy is triggered when we “see” online, victims of war or famine, child slavery, the cruelty of factory farms, or polar bears dying from starvation caused by habitat loss. The Internet can also help us share creative and practical solutions to the problems we all face. We can communicate globally, amplify messages, build alliances, and send aid when needed. The Internet and communications help us work together as one for the good of all…if we so choose.
We need two ways to perceive and be in the world
What appears to be emerging now is the restoration of balance and the merging of both ways of understanding the world – ‘I am a separate entity’ and viewpoints ‘related to all life’. As we bring them together in our mind and heart, or perhaps they pulse from one to the other, we can begin to decipher the thick dividing lines of our model/them and visualize other possibilities and solutions.
There is no need to go back to the way things were before our centuries-long escape into duality. Collectively, as a society, we are shedding the skin of our old way of perceiving the world, and a new layer forms beneath it. The new model is likely to rely more on intuition, but not entirely. Because we can now take advantage of the possibilities offered by the Internet and other innovations. The language will probably still exist, but our intuition will direct us toward more communication that is full of truth.
If we relax our subordinationist worldview by trusting our intuitions and adjusting our place in the natural world, we can discover what we are called to do, whether as unique individuals or as a community. Then with the help of some of the tools of our 21st century everyday working world of individual identities, we can set out to bring our vision into the world.
How will the Forms Consortium direct our invitation?
Keeping the two directions simultaneously in our minds and hearts will teach us how to approach advocacy, whether it is for safe technology, nuclear disarmament, judicious use of space, or any other changes we wish to make. The way each of us will appear in the world is unknown, but Our calling will stem from a balanced and renewed way of seeing things. Whatever form you take, our communication will likely be clearer, less polarizing, and more effective, especially when speaking to those whose actions we feel need to be corrected. For messages delivered from the heart, barriers can easily be removed and influence mindsets and actions.
May the visions of a more viable future that arise from a deep understanding of our interdependence, accompany into the world by the global “team” with whom we are inseparably…while still honoring and reserve space for light distinction in ourselves and others.
You can read the rest of the ‘Independence Day 5G’ series Here