Opening to Interdependence

The brainI hear and read so many things that extol the ideal that we are—or should be—complete within ourselves and that we must achieve autonomy (e.g., merge our inner feminine and masculine, achieve enlightenment, overcome the need for others, etc., to realize our human potential.) Interdependence is forgotten in the pursuit of autonomy.

What if the opposite is true?

If there is any validity to evolutionary biology and psychology, our incredibly large human brains evolved around the necessity and capacity to connect, deeply and profoundly, with other humans and to “maintain” that connection and dependence, not overcome it. This, according to some of my favorite relationship theorists, is why breakups, divorces, and betrayals feel so devastating. We are literally designed for connection. If one thing distinguishes our species, it’s our relationality.

Is it possible that the ideal of being “complete on our own” is just another artifact of the “rugged individualism” that enables us to hunt our own species and trash our own environment without feeling the repercussions?

What do YOU think?
In our most lucid and coherent moments, wiser humans feel that at bottom we are not individuals at all, but “seemingly” separate parts of a single whole. The parietal lobe of the brain produces a sense of separateness so that we can do the things we need to do for our survival as creatures. Yet the mystics and sages of world religious and wisdom traditions operate out of a certainty of Oneness and still function as particular beings when it serves.