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Declaration of Independence - 4 July 1776 - Detail of Painting by John TrumbullDeclaration of Independence – 4 July 1776
Detail of Painting by John Trumbull in the U.S. Capitol
Photo Credit: U.S. Library of Congress


This Fourth of July, I joined the people of America in celebrating 238 years since the nation’s Declaration of Independence from the British Empire. In 1966, when my native land, Guyana, gained its independence from Great Britain, the British Empire was already in decline. The United States was in ascendance.

Growing to adulthood in a young independent nation, I learned that the word independence was a misnomer. We were still tied by our navel string to our former colonial masters. With a struggling economy, we endured power outages, water cutoffs, and food shortages. Help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) brought more austerity. Independence had led to new forms of dependency on international bankers and on other masters.

Perhaps, only isolated communities worldwide are self-sufficient. The majority of humankind depends upon others to grow our food; to make our clothing; to provide housing; to supply energy and water; to educate us; to care for us when sick; and to do much more. In other words, we are interdependent.

The propagation of our species depends upon the union of the male sperm and female ovary, making men and women co-dependent.

Then there is Mother Earth which makes life possible. Without the Sun, oxygen, water, and other living species on our home planet, life as we know it would cease. We are part of the natural world, not separate from it.

We fool ourselves with our words. Independence is an illusion. We trade one master for another and create new ones. In the United States, we have decreed that man-made corporations are people who can also have religious beliefs. (Do they have souls too?) It is not enough that our corporate masters control our free market economy and our government. They must also control our private lives.

Our belief that we are independent beings and independent nations is driving us towards self-extinction. The moment we perceive the illusion of our independence, the sooner we will become truly free as individuals.

We are one with the Universe.