My Way

We woke up this morning to a wandering Mariachi band playing “My Way” in Spanish for  a funeral procession. Singers ranging from Frank Sinatra to Sid Vicious have belted out “My Way”- a prideful tune about  living a free and independent life. They weren’t singing about dominance or being dominated, they were just celebrating being able to live how they pleased. At some point in our lives sooner or later, most of us realize “I don’t like being told what to do.”

I think this drive for doing  it your way developed over a long period of time. For a couple of million years living as hunter-gatherers, we had a fierce need to be independent. Primatologist Christopher Boehm argues that “Nomadic foragers are universally – and all but obsessively – concerned with being free from the authority of others.” We’ve been calibrated for a world that no longer exists for most people. One of the things we’re not able to do is live in small bands. Self determination to some extent could be pursued because the groups we lived in were likely run via cooperation more than a hierarchy.

Nowadays, given the chance, in our modern world, most people want to work for themselves. at least people I know.

People don’t want to be subservient. Small steps are taken by progressive societies to make their people’s lives more even and less controlling. For example, some countries are slowly dropping diminutive titles for unwed women. In the US, progressive people and newspapers refer to all women with the more general “Ms.”  And Germany got rid of addressing unmarried women with “Frauline” in favor of generally using only “Frau.”

I think people become distrustful of a system that give others too much authority over them. Communism has crashed and burned because the power in that system was not evenly distributed, as claimed. In the US, citizens are now upset as they realize just how much  unfairness has crept into the system lately.

William Blake put it well when he said “Each man must create his own system or else he is a slave to another mans.”