The Fickle Trap of Dependency

07/17/2016 04:07 pm ET

In today’s world, as we barely question the problem of our lack of inner security, we all follow this weird, mental social illness called dependency. It seems we have all collectively gone a bit psychotic, chasing this dependency which we believe will give us a deep inner security. But turns out, this is probably one of the biggest illusions in the 21st century.  Instead, we are neglecting our own lovers, families, friends and partners and the ones who do good to us, and at the end of the day, even ourselves.

We don’t realise how much admiration we hold for people, organisations and institutions and countries who have maximised their profits or have acquired multitudes of possessions over the shortest possible period of time. We rate people on a scale of less successful to very successful, rather than actually looking at them, considering the sort of ideas, perceptions and visions they bring to the table to make meaning and create purpose in the world.

Most of us are unable to cope with our inner emptiness, and are convinced that our company and institution needs to constantly keep striving for more and for higher, to persuade customers and clients to consume more – mainly to impress them about the services and products. What appears to be of a persuasive nature turns out to be an ever-deepening fickle trap of global dependency. 

That is why advertising, public relations, TV, and lifestyle magazine messages keep increasing the pace, bombarding people worldwide with prompts to consume more, better and differently, so that we no longer need to deal with the truth of day-to-day reality – but are displayed a different sort of reality, helping us create our own distorted reality, believing that the more we consume the better our lives will be and the more successful we will be as executives and leaders.  

Almost unnoticed, dependency has become a new global zeitgeist, an ideology where we all moulded into one, a very seductive idea which has now become a lethal trap. We are becoming a society of compulsive, dependent citizens – people, partners, customers, clients and employees – ensnared in a fickle game of global dependency.  

The trouble is, as people we don’t recognise what the cost of dependency really is. We want to belong to a certain circle or group of people and only realise much later that the price of belonging is much too high to pay. That is why our dependency traps us. We keep running to it because we can’t imagine not bring dependent, because we can’t stand being alone with ourselves. Only when we truly understand the high cost of dependency will we actually realise that our dependency is linked to a much bigger picture: threatening the end of a stable, content life as well as sustainable political and business environment, and eventually a healthy, natural habitat.

As our global population expands, we are becoming increasingly dependent on each other – as if there is no other way. What impact on our lives does dependency have? This is taking us down the path of tremendous loneliness, because when all attachment, all contentment, are gone, we are confronted, quite starkly, with ourselves, at our deepest levels inwardly and outwardly. This awareness of self-isolation is the profound level where we nurture our self-awareness, but we want to fill our emptiness, our dependency, with endless attachments, status quo, image, reputation, power, amusement, sensation, euphoria, recognition, believing this generates a sense of belonging. Not surprisingly, we are using dependency to avoid facing reality.


How did we fall into this trap of dependency? The biggest problems in human history are scarcity – experiencing poverty, hunger, deprivation – but also exclusion from the inner social circles. This fight against deprivation urges us to acquire beyond our basic needs and to use this as a survival instinct, all part of our human nature. But as civilisation advanced, life got easier, more goods became available, never what people at the end considered plentiful except for a very tiny minority, who believed that it is good to make people dependent, giving them a feeling of belonging, a fickle belonging to maintain this dependency.  All of a sudden, goods of exclusivity and luxury were made available to the large, global masses to expand and lift up the notable elite, making the masses even more dependent.

This worked very well for many years, but now we are seeing the absurdity of accumulation, making us aware of how wrongs things can go. We while we know this, we still keep on within this large circle of comfort zone. We have never asked ourselves, how we we ever free ourselves from dependency?  Why don’t we all face the facts and see what happens? This could be a tremendous evolution in thinking, a new way of looking at leadership in the near future.

When religion was forced on the West, it set the ultimate tone for the global society until today. Initially, frugality was the name of the game. But after thousands of years, when materialism was abandoned or not attainable, everything changed. It was in the 17th century that new trade routes opened up and a new type of entrepreneur emerged and a middle class was established to exploit minorities throughout the underdeveloped world and make them dependent. They revelled in their new way of life, gaining new-found respect and flaunting indulgences and consumptions and possessions. But as mentioned previously, the truth of the matter is that there is a much deeper factor making us all dependent.

Today, we depend on our relationships: business partnerships, alliances, business circles and probably even within the family and friendships. But why? Could it be possible that it is not dependency that we are faced with? Is it possible that there is something much deeper that makes us dependent? As long we can’t unravel that, we keep being dependent and struggling for inner freedom, not being ourselves.  Is it possible that it is our mind which abhors anxiety and fears being alone?

As long as we feel lonely, dependency is inevitable. Because as long as we keep being dependent, we are always what we are not. And this is why in our way of thinking this seems to makes perfectly sense, this searching for some kind of dependence, security, acknowledgment, achievement, to prove ourselves and others that we are on the right path.

This is a very limited way to look at life and leadership, however. It would be wrong to say that we need to achieve independency: so what is it then? If we can inquire without the reaction of seeking freedom from any sort of dependency, we can actually delve much deeper into this, without believing that dependence is inevitable. But as long as we never question the whole issue of dependency, each of us will keep seeking some kind of dependency. Interesting enough, it is not that we demand security. What we demand is to be kept out of confusion and instability. That is our challenge, though, because we are constantly concerned about how to escape or how to avoid this inner state of security, in which we must confront ourselves – not wanting to accept it.

That is why we embrace so tightly feelings of sensation, euphoria, celebration and superficiality. Because we are putting so much energy into this constant avoidance of inner security, we are bound to create dependency for ourselves and others around us, which then becomes our main authority. We are convinced we can cultivate our inner security through dependency. And that is why we do everything possible to protect it – whatever it takes.

As a matter of fact, we are not realising that we have lately been narrowing the options being kept away from attachments. Still, we neglect to question it and therefore fail to fully understand the problem of dependency.

Dependence sets the movement of aloofness and attachment, a constant conflict without comprehension, without release. This means we must be aware of the process leading to attachment and dependency, without judgment, and then we will perceive the significance of this conflict of opposites, gaining the clarity and consciousness that is needed to comprehend that when we finally and fully accept ourselves, we will no longer be dependent.



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