Zack Vayda and the Delusion of Independence

If every person in the world could be categorized as primarily logically minded or primarily emotionally minded, I would be the poster child for the former. This is in no way a boast; in fact, I now would consider it more of a negative than a positive (see the Emotional Intelligence blog series). But I didn't always consider it a negative. For the longest time, I thought it was the only way.

Logically minded people spend a lot of time in their own heads. They can carry on full conversations with themselves (mentally or out loud), they can reason with themselves, they can keep themselves company. If you're having a conversation with someone and they stop mid-sentence to gaze off into the distance, chances are you're talking to a logically minded person. Having a brain that works this way can have its benefits, but there are some serious pitfalls to be aware of. The most dangerous and possibly most common pitfall is having a false sense of independence. 

It's easy to understand why logically minded people can get to this point of view. "If I can effectively create dialogues to come up with solutions and keep myself company, I must not need other people." This is a tempting way to see the world because it means you don't have to be vulnerable to other people. You don't have to rely on them for support, you don't have to go to others for potentially incorrect answers to problems, you don't have to worry about getting hurt by others. From this perspective, the safest and most efficient life is independence.

But here's the problem: there is no such thing as independence. I depended on my mother to give me life in infancy, I depended on my parents and other guardians to teach me how to see the world and my part in it, I depended on every one of my educators to give me the knowledge to communicate effectively in this life. Every book I read, every podcast I listen to, every interaction I have is under the umbrella of dependence. And those are just the abstract thoughts. On top of all that, I depend on others to supply the markets with food, I depend on others to build the shelters I live in, I depend on others to create the clothes on my back. There is no such thing as independence because every person is a sum of their dependent experiences. 

If this is true, if we are all the cumulative knowledge of the people around us, that would mean dependency on others is the same as growth, progression and knowledge. The more we rely on others, the more we grow, and the more we grow, the closer we get to the ultimate goal: interdependence. Coincidentally, recognition of our dependency is what gives us something even better than independence.

Because I'm a logically minded person:

Independence + Lack of Growth = Dependence

Dependence + Growth = Interdependence


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