Charles Starrett

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Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.

The lie of self-reliance

If you are reading this, you are reliant on others. Just starting from what you’re looking at and working backwards, there are the people who designed, manufactured, distributed, and sold the device you’re reading on, the suppliers of internet access, those who provided electricity for your device to run, not to mention me, the writer of the words.

And that doesn’t even get into all the hands involved in the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and the myriad other products and services we rely on every day to live our lives. The impact of “supply chain challenges” on all of us is ample evidence of our non-self-reliance.

Even Henry David Thoreau, one of the more famous proponents of self-reliance, wasn’t entirely self-reliant during his two-year experiment, either. Friends helped him build his cabin, family delivered baskets of laundry and baked goods, and he was only able to do the whole thing because of his privilege, connections, and a wealthy friend.

It’s clear that we need each other to survive and thrive. So how much richer might our lives be if we turned away from the lie of self-reliance, and lived according to the natural law of human community?

17 July 2022

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