“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
These were the opening words to the 1776 Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. Nigeria may not have had this type sort of compelling document; maybe because, in our case, the British steered us toward self governance pretty deliberately and we did not really have to fight for it as fiercely as the Americans did.
The case for independence, regardless, comes from the necessity to be weaned from relying solely on another entity for survival. A child is later weaned from feeding from his mother’s breast when it becomes necessary to do so. A nation may have needed the close guidance of another to be built up politically, economically and socially, but there comes a time when this ‘child’ nation has had enough breast milk and is ready to be weaned.
At this point, one of two things must happen. Either the mother begins to withdraw her breasts perhaps gradually from the child as in the case of Nigeria, or the child begins to resist being fed so directly from the parent. When the latter is the case, “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they [the child] should declare the causes which impel them to the separation [from the mother’s breasts]”.
For a long time, the dependent nation is made to think that its entire existence and future rely solely on its colonizers, but growth occurs and eyes open and the inevitable truth eventually comes out.
In our personal lives, we may have been conditioned to think that we cannot live without certain things or people playing certain roles in our lives –roles of total control. But we have to seek personal growth and development, so that our eyes may be opened to see the truth that’s eagerly waiting to set us free.
We first have to realize, though, that man is never totally free. Rousseau was right to say that “man is free, but everywhere in chains”. We need certain things to both survive and thrive in this life, but the trick is that those things are in huge abundance already, so as not to limit us to only a small portion of it on which our lives would then desperately depend.
We need God for example, and He’s quite infinite if you ask me. We need air, and it is quite ubiquitous and abundant. We need people, and they are so many that we don’t know the exact population. We need food, and it exists in abundant supply and variety –only its distribution or lack thereof can create a shortage.
Bearing this in mind, we should look at our lives to see if we are way too dependent on any one thing, person or set of systems for our own survival. We need to know if we have given away control and have now become victims of circumstances. A victim is somebody who has given away control –not willingly, mind you; that control is usually taken from them, either subtly or forcibly.
Just like the colonizers were interested in controlling their colonies politically, economically and socially; there are people, things and systems in and around our lives that take control from us in similar areas.
Politically speaking, for example, there are those who ‘rule’ over us, who act as our ‘government’, our authority figures. Our parents easily fall into this category. In some instances, they don’t know when to stop ‘controlling’ our lives –telling us what to study in school, what type of job to do, whom to marry, where to live. This unhealthy control is tyrannical and is not good for either party, most especially the victim.
Then, economically speaking, we have our finances. Our jobs or a boss may control how much money we can make. When this goes on for too long, it also becomes tyrannical and resistance begins to build up. Everyone innately wants to control their income and grow it as they wish. But this is not attainable at a job that puts a cap on your earnings. A business might be the solution. How about a commissions-based job with no caps on your earnings? The importance of financial independence cannot be overstated. Having control of your own time and money brings a great deal of independence your way.
Socially, the colonizers want the culture of their dependants to be just like theirs, so they force their dressing, education, music and entire lifestyle upon them with the exception of their freedom. In our personal lives, we may have some cultural and traditional systems which we adhere to, that have shackled us and kept us away from our freedom and independence.
We might even have friends that we socialize with, whom we cannot do without. Our whole identity is so wrapped around them that should they quit socializing with us, our whole world comes crashing down. That is a rare case of willingly becoming dependent and giving away your control. There are way too many people on earth to be bound to just one person outside of marriage.
We have to look at these areas of our personal lives and see if we are being controlled by parents, bosses, jobs, the economy, senseless traditions, friends and other addictions. Awareness is the first step, and then we declare our independence from them with good reasons why we know we ought to be free and independent from them.
Remember, though, that it is never enough to just declare your independence; you have to fight for it, because the colonizers will not sit back and watch their claimed territory being taken away from them. They will put up a fight, so be ready for one!
The illusion of colonialism is getting its subjects to believe that they cannot stand without the colonizers holding their hands. Those who fight know for sure that they can stand, but those who are steered toward “independence” never really seem to be able to stand thereafter. They still stand with the aid of crutches. Or is it with the crutches of aid?
Fighting is not pretty. It looks like the ugly confrontation of controlling parents and, perhaps, the willingness to forgo their financial aid so as to gain your personal freedom. It looks like the grind of building a business from scratch, to eventually free you from the tyranny of a boss and his office politics. It looks like going counter-culture; standing out from a crowd of the average and being mocked at and criticized for daring to be different. It looks like walking away from a toxic relationship, like wincing in pain from the withdrawal from an addiction.
Fighting is hard, but the freedom at the back-end is well worth it, and so we have to fight dearly with everything we’ve got, putting the most important things at stake; just like those men who signed the 1776 Declaration of Independence with the closing words: “… for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”