There are few virtues more important than independence. Independence is a requirement for leading your own life. How can you make decisions if every action you take has to be filtered through other people first? Without independence, you can’t be the captain of your life. You must be satisfied scrubbing the decks while someone else sets the direction you’re to follow.
Independence doesn’t mean you never need other people. Most people wouldn’t last a year stranded on an island with no other people to provide support. Independence means that you add at least as much value back as you take from every transaction. You don’t leave a permanent debt between you and another person.
Debt is Dependency
When you build a debt with another person, you lose your independence. If you require another person to support you, that person has power over you. They can withdraw their funding based on your actions, effectively controlling your life. Even if they are benevolent, they may unconsciously use their power to influence your decisions.
If your transactions are fair, you retain your independence. I’m not dependent on a grocery store because, if they decide not to feed me, I can take my money elsewhere. Since it is an equal trade, there is no imbalance of power.
Independence is More Than Just Money
The debt that dependency creates doesn’t just have to be in finances. You can be completely financially independent, but entirely socially and intellectually dependent on other people.
Financial independence is important. Requiring money from other people to live isn’t ideal. Even if you are dependent on a spouse, family member or the government for an income, it shouldn’t become a permanent situation.
If everyone became financially dependent on another person, the economy would collapse. Independence isn’t just a personal virtue, it’s a moral virtue. Avoiding debts with other people makes you in control over your own life. Independence also makes you a creator instead of a...