07/01/2013 10:17 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2013

Dear Marlboro Man

It's time to retire. You have held up so beautifully, waving the flag of individualism for 60 years. You have reminded us to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and valiantly embodied an ethos of self-reliance. You have graced us with your iconic stature as the Man on Top. You are toppling. You can either step down graciously, or not. But you are toppling.

It was inevitable that things would end this way because your message was fundamentally flawed, built on bad information. You were never independent. You were brought into the world by a mother and a father. Your ancestors reach far back in time, affecting you now. You were fed and sustained by food grown by another. The growing of that food was dependent on a vast and interconnected ecosystem. You were inculcated into the culture by your people and offered some skills in order to survive. Someone taught you to ride that horse. Someone helped you learn how to care for that horse.

The story of separation that you perpetuate is a tragedy. Ironically, you probably don't know this. Having lived this story for several generations you feel separate. As a result, your myth is experienced as fact.

The external consequences of this are becoming evident as our ecosystem teeter totters, threatening to implode. What you may not realize, however, is that people are suffering on the inside as well. There is a substratum that exists within us that connects us to all. When we go deep within ourselves we eventually discover that we are held in a vast field of interconnection and we are essentially nourished by this. But many of us have lost our direct connection to that which sustains us so fundamentally. Blinded by your myth, we don't even know that such a substratum exists. As a result, we loop in a gerbil wheel of isolation, more often than not, unaware that this does not have to be so. The consequence is mirrored in the ubiquity of depression and anxiety in our degraded culture.

So, here's the deal, my dear old friend. We have lived your myth and in the process not only defied a most basic law of nature -- that of interdependence -- but we have also lost touch with our deepest and truest Self. Please, for the sake of all sentient beings, put your hands in the air and surrender.

Best regards, from one who has known you too well.