What it means to be truly independent

October 30, 2017

Not long ago a group of landowners invited me to join their consortium. At first I played along. Eventually when I could no longer play for time by delaying the matter any longer I told them that I much preferred to wing it all by myself.

One of them turned to me and said…why do you always have to make life difficult for yourself and everyone else…why can’t you be like others…do you realise you will stand alone…that is always dangerous.

I told this person, I rather rule in hell than be ruled in heaven.


‘I reckon the hardest thing for a man to do is to stand alone. This I imagine will always be difficult in so many ways. As firstly the act of standing apart from one’s fellow men is quite an unnatural act and does not come without some intervention in one’s previous life. Not at all. Man after all is a social animal and it’s only too natural for him to derive comfort and a sense of security by standing alongside other men.

The idea of close to the bosom of other men, even if they are fools hardly matter – it’s a primal instinct that palliates fears.

Standing alone may at times present all manner and forms of complications. For one it is not unusual for one to run the gauntlet of being labelled all sorts of charming names by one’s peers…everything from a lousy team player to a recalcitrant.

The paradox is – it’s not that most men despise those who choose to stand apart from them. No. It only seems that way to the untrained eye. In truth the only reason why most men regard such an act as a slap to their face and even feel justified to react so strongly to those who seem inclined to stand alone is simply because deep down.

They know standing alone requires a certain degree of confidence and quality of character that they may not quite possess.

It must be very intimidating to be in the company of a man who does not feel the need to belong. Someone who is beholden to no one…except maybe the sum of his being.

I once came across a lone climber half way up K2 climbing without ropes…..the very sight of this tortured soul proceeding upwards steadily with just his muscles and sinews filled me with such indescrible feelings of horror that I buried my face into the darkness of a crevice and cried like a baby…I could not bring myself to look at him and whimpered like a lost soul. As to look even fleetingly would have first required me to confront the sum of all my fears. I cried…as I had never seen such a beautiful sight before. I cried tears hot like blood as I realised that I could never aspire to conquer my fears in such a perfect way that mythical being did. The purity of will…the finality of his repudiation of life itself that reduced everything into a single act that some how managed to unify man and nature was so beautiful….it was so beautiful, yet the horror…the horror of knowing deep down one would always be weak no matter how hard one tried.

I do admit, it certainly does come across as a tad narcissistic. None the less, once the list of disserta has been exhausted as to how one comes to this trait – which naturally would involve speculating on whether it might have been a legacy that came from an epic fall from grace. A scandal perhaps. After all why doesn’t he feel the omnipresent need to belong..to be a part of…surely it has to be a cultivate taste like acquiring a liking for goat cheese or preferring to drink coffee without sugar or milk. Or maybe it’s much more macabre. I once read a story about a group of shipwreck survivors who managed to survive their ordeal only because they summoned something unmentionable in themselves to consume human flesh. Every year at a certain agreed date these survivors would meet and feast on some dearly unfortunate….it was a form of vampirism, one which they could neither deny nor suppress…it was as if they had all crossed a mythical line somewhere in their heads. Only to arrive at a point of existence that could mark them out as different from the rest of humanity with a finality that only the damned would ever comprehend.

Or maybe I am just reading too much into this idea of why some men choose to stand alone.

Maybe they know something that all other men are unaware of…the greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong completely to yourself.’

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