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Local Dependency

"Self-sufficiency" is an idea which has done more harm than good.   On close conceptual examination it is flawed at the root.  More importantly, it works badly in practice.

Anyone who has actually tried to live in total self-sufficiency - there must be now thousands in the recent wave that we (culpa!) helped inspire - knows the mind-numbing labor and loneliness and frustration and real marginless hazard that goes with the attempt.   It is a kind of hysteria.

The trouble is that self-sufficiency looks good and tastes good and gets swallowed whole - clear down into one's premise structure, where it becomes a design guideline.   When a problem comes up, we check the various solution alternatives against the criterion of whether this solution will help make us more self-sufficient. And each time we make a mistake.

Because: self-sufficiency is not to be had on any terms, ever.   It is a charming woodsy extension of the fatal American mania for privacy.   "I don't need you.   I don't need anybody.   II am self-sufficient."

It is a damned lie.   There is no dissectable self.  Ever since there were two organisms life has been a matter of co-evolution, life growing ever more richly on life.  Any "self" is strictly a term of convenience for one's mildly discontinuous local set of body and mood considerations. Any "privacy" is a temporary incremental respite from the big dance. I cherish privacy, even live alone, so it's a bit of a jump to realize how unbasic it is.

Now our poor rich nation wants energy self-sufficiency - a deadly stupid chimera.   We nations all are in total dependency on systems which have no respect for national boundaries - atmosphere, oceans, ocean life, biotic provinces and our daily Sun, without which nothing.  Cultural flow, language, economic flow - this stuff slows up at national boundaries and probably should, but it never stops. To refute George Washington, "Life IS entangling alliances."

So, where does this come out for one's premise structure, design guidelines, and such? It would seem that the more fundamental statement is one of dependency.   We can ask what kinds of dependency we prefer, but that's our only choice.

For example, is it preferable to be dependent on institutions we don't know, and which don't know us, or on people, other organisms, and natural forces that we do know? . . . local dependency.

I'm betting that abandonment of illusions of self-sufficiency will free us to accept and enjoy local dependency, by preference.

And since our world is increasingly cultural, and proportionally ever less physical, the meaning of 'local' is not geographic, at least not only.