Sunday, September 8, 2019

Obedience and Dependency in Life

What is meant by history? Is it the repetition of conflicts between humans? History begins in time and develops and spreads into space and is recorded— the continuation of challenges and responses, attachments and victories and confidence in the future. Is that the way we see history and the way we should see it? An article in Kyeongyang magazine by a psychiatry professor in the field of anthropology gives us his thoughts on the subject.

Dependency has a negative connotation. We speak of dependency on drugs on the internet etc. We have a gut feeling for freedom and dislike dependency. The word itself carries a lot of negativity and those who are dependent we feel have problems but is this the reality?

We are all dependent. What we eat, drink and wear have been made by others. When sick we go to a doctor, learn from teachers, children depend on their parents and married couples depend on each other during their lives together.

Our complicated structures of society and the variety of our cultures demands dependence. We talk and proclaim freedom and independence but no one is living that kind of life.

Humans appeared on earth about 6 million years ago, for hundreds of thousands of years lived together cooperating as equals. They learned from the previous generation, trades, and the wisdom to deal with their difficult environment. The tribes that hunted and gathered their food were able to live a relatively high living standard with equality among the members. There was little difference among the sexes, roles and functions were accorded to the sexes according to their experience and age but there was equality.

During the early stone age, there was no conflict of rank. No war between tribes. Conflict arises when something is lacking. When something was missing they would move to a different location, no reason to lose life in a war. About 10 thousand years ago in the new stone age, this changed. No need to go into the reasons but people began to live in smaller spaces and we have the appearance of classes, discrimination, divisions between those who had and those who didn't and the beginning of social standing from birth, determining the way life would be lived. Conflicts arose and trust in the group began to appear.

In the new stone, age population increased but life was impoverished and diseases increased: cholera, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, rubella, bubonic plague, and the like. Children born, half would die within the year and 40 percent of the adults would die in war. The harder the life the more conflict between the different groups.

People were dependent on one another but it became dangerous when this became extreme. When people use each other this is no longer innocent dependence and many problems arise. The word obedience has more positive aspects than dependency but in modern society, this is not readily seen. The opposite of obedience when it is successful often brings great material benefits to the person. In Christianity, obedience has great value but today it has a rather ambiguous response in society.

Psychologically dependency is when a person has the intention of getting help from another. When one does passively what another asks we call this the 'good child response'. When this is extreme we call this a dependent personality. One does not make his own decision but does what another wants. The only time he is active is when looking for someone to depend on.

Obedience is different. One is not looking for concern from another but has concern for the other. Since we have little knowledge of the future the wise thing to do is search for the wise person and listen and do what is suggested. This is what the Scriptures teach.

Following the wisdom of the ages and listening to advice and continually reflecting on life rather than the opposite, is healthy. Humans are always discerning what is gain and what is loss. To shut our eyes and ears and do what we are told is not wise.

Independence and freedom will come with obedience. After much thought, once you decide and believe what you do is correct this is obedience. What is precious is not achieved quickly. No matter how anxious one is about the autumn harvest, once you believe, wisdom requires you wait.

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