Your Independence Is Not For Sale

There was a time in my life when I did not fully appreciate the value of personal independence.  I was unduly enamored by the idea of security and safety:  it was preferable, I thought, to accept a “safe” job uncongenial to my nature, than to take the employment choice I truly wanted.  Applied to women, I often thought it preferable to continue in a mediocre relationship, rather than terminate it, since “nothing better” was on the horizon.   What a fool I was.  I now recognize this mentality for what it is:  an expression of fear.  Fear, born from a mentality of scarcity.  We fear that nothing better will come along, or that the leap into the unknown holds intolerable terrors.

The paradox of this mentality is that an unsatisfying job and an unsatisfying relationship are not “secure” at all.  There is no “safety” in them:  they are inherently unstable, and become more so with the passage of time.  For when we do something that violates our inner nature, our spirit eventually revolts.  And then: down come the precious delusions which we have so laboriously erected.  It cannot be otherwise.  It cannot.


Let us hear what our brother Phaedrus has to say about this.  Readers will remember Phaedrus, as I have leaned on his wisdom before.   In “The Lean Wolf and the Plump Dog” [Phaedrus III.7], he narrates as follows (with any errors in translation being my own, of course):

As liberty is sweet, I will speak briefly.

A wolf of lean countenance chanced upon a well-fed dog.

After exchanging greetings, the wolf said:

“How is it, I’d like to know, that your coat shines so?

With what food to you get such a body?

I, who am stronger by far, nearly am perishing of famine!”

The dog replied simply:  “You would be able to have the same,

If you could fulfill the requirements of my master.”

“And what is that?” said the wolf.

“For I am truly ready for anything.  Now I suffer from the snow and rain,

In the forest, bringing me a difficult life.  How much

Easier it would be for me to live under a roof and to be satisfied

With sufficient food and leisure!”

The dog replied:  “Then come with me!”

As they walked off, the wolf noticed the bare spot

On the dog’s neck, worn away from his chain.

“What is this, friend?” said the wolf

Said the dog:  “Nothing.”

“Still, tell me!” said the wolf.

The dog said, “Because I see sharply, they chain me up by day,

And in the morning also, so that I keep quiet, and at night

So that I may be vigilant.

Between day and night I am untied so that I may have some movement.

Bread is brought occasionally.  And my master gives bones from his table.

The family tosses morsels to me from what they don’t want.

Thus my stomach is filled with little effort.”

Said the wolf:  “And if you have a mind to go away, is that allowed?”

“It is not,” replied the dog.

“Enjoy these things that you praise, my friend,” said the wolf.

“I do not want this domain of yours.  It is no freedom to me.”

Security that comes with the price tag of your freedom is no security at all.  There are many times in our lives when we will be faced with the temptations of comfort, security, and money.  And there will be times when these inducements come at the cost of our spiritual independence and the integrity of our souls.  In Oliver Stone’s 1987 film Wall Street, the office sage, played by Hal Holbrook, counsels a young Charlie Sheen:  “The thing about money, Bud…it makes you do things you don’t want to do”.

I recognize that there are times in life when we must make short-term decisions based on survival, and that such decisions may not be ideal.  Survival is the first imperative, of course.  I do not doubt that.  But that is another matter entirely.  I am speaking of a situation here in which someone chooses to go for the easy money, or the convenient woman, when it is not really his true wish to do so.  And woe unto him who does this.  He will regret this decision.


My brother, listen to me, and hear my words:  your freedom is not negotiable.  Your soul is not for sale.  You shall not traffic in your spiritual independence.  You will be happier doing what your inner nature impels, even if the financial reward appears less on the surface, than in selling your soul to the highest bidder.

Know, O my brother, that the craving for security and safety in this tumultuous world cannot be gained at the expense of your soul.  This craving is the voice of fear.  For the bargain for your soul is an unequal one, and will corrode your spirit.  As you adopt the mentality of abundance, you will see that the quest for absolute security is a fool’s errand.  There is no guaranteed security, no guaranteed safety.

You alone are the guarantor of your own destiny, and your own independence.  The wise man will aspire to the gateway of independence and wisdom.  Do not exhaust yourself in the search for this gateway:  for the gateway is within you.

Read More:  This Is How To Be A Man

42 thoughts on “Your Independence Is Not For Sale”

  1. Great article. I think there also needs to be an emphasis on how people’s dependence on others through welfare, entitlements etc… impacts on a person’s independence. This is a touchy and complicated topic as many on welfare actually want jobs in an economy regulated by the government and corporations. However, if we had no government then society would turn to anarchy. By having more people dependent on the government through a Cloward-Piven policy, the Western nations have both governmental mandarins and vast masses of people ever increasingly dependent on a dwindling middle class that is unable to shoulder the burderns and is enslaved by both groups. At what point does the middle class person decide that their independence is not for sale? That they won’t put up with this? And where will they go where they would get a better deal? This is a key point. After all, globalization has led to falling standards within the West in all western nations; and if you don’t put up or shut up, they’ll find someone one a foreign entry visa who’ll do the job happily and for less money.
    Is the solution to cut yourself and a small group of supporters off from modern day society? Is that the true price of independence? And is it even possible?

    1. anarchy would be great…. transportation companies would soon take over building better roads and airports….. insurance companies would soon install police forces to reduce crime…. and the so called and feared monopolies that governments claim to regulate and reduce, could not exist at all in a free market place, since nimble quick minded competition would always rise up and drag down the lumbering dinosaur companies that have monopolies for a few years….. look at what has happened to Microsoft…. the tech industry being somewhat of a level playing field…. it’s a shadow of it’s former self….

    2. These are excellent points, and I have been thinking along the same lines myself. I am sick to death of giving the equivalent of a new car a year away in what I see as punitive taxes that only serve to further enslave me. And they always ask for just a little bit more. I’ve about reached my breaking point.
      And believe me, if you saw my salary, it’s decent but I shouldn’t be compelled by an ompressive government to give away 30-40% of my income when you add it all up. Because it’s not just FICA, it’s Social Security, Medicare, sales, gasoline, licensing, state, local, and hidden taxes that they are stealing from me.
      When I go out into society, what do I see? People living it up on government largesse at my expense.
      Meantime, I am regulated to death, and scared to death to do anything because if I step out of line I can be punished by losing my job, or worse, my freedom.
      Well, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. My solution (thus far) has been this and it’s evolving…to use the United States to make as much money as I can, then go and spend it in places that are more welcoming to people like me.

        1. Another great article, by the way. A man must truly look out for himself and maintain as much independence as possible. I’ve learned the hard way that there is no loyalty in this world, whether it be loyalty from “friends” or employers or women or anything else, with rare exception.
          Better to be the lean wolf than the plump dog. Because the lean wolf at least has survival skills. The plump dog doesn’t have any of those skills because his fate depends on the whims of his master.

  2. Was that a sermon or an article, my brother? Message was alright, well… pretty fucking redundant actually, I mean, who doesn’t know this? But the, “My brother, listen to me, and hear my words,” shit was icing on the cake.

    1. A lot of people won’t act on it, and slowly become institutionalized. Workplaces are notorious for threatening your security as a means to intimidate and control you. Simply allowing yourself to walk away from the situation can provide immense psychological freedom and very often turns the table in your favor.

      1. No need to tell me, I gave up security to do what I love. It’s all come together now and I’m happy. But that message has been played to death in books and movies.
        Here’s more “good” advice: Treat others as you’d like them to treat you. Yawn.

        1. throw caution to the wind and when you’re under pressure and you have to find a way, you will find a way…. and when all else fails and you’re screwed, you’ll find it’s not so bad after all…. then you get used to the washing machine of life, and all it’s tumbles and cycles and start to come out fresh and clean, rather than bedraggled and scared….

        2. It is what it is.
          Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a day. But teach him to think like a fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.

      1. Well sermons suck IMO, like religion sucks IMO, like this article sucks IMO. No need for bullshit, just lay out facts in bullet points.

        1. Confirming freedom is more important than the theoretical proposition. This confirmation requires courage, and sermons are valuable to this end. The list of things to do for confirmation comes off as boring and uninspired when we do not have the scent for confronting our fear head on.

        2. God, you’re worse than Quintus.
          Let me know when the masturbatory, condescending homo-speeches go out of fashion.

        3. This type of commentary is reserved for females and boys; certainly not for kings. Go listen to some Simple Plan.

  3. “The thing about money, Bud…it makes you do things you don’t want to do”
    Yeah, like work.

    1. What Oliver Stone meant was that the quest for greater and greater sums of money corrupts one’s judgment. Turning into a “money whore” is not the way to go. Those who have had great riches but personal dissatisfaction know the truth of these words.

  4. The major issue with your article is that you use two spaces after every full stop, which grates on the eyes. No, it is not the correct way to do it, despite what your teacher/mother/know-all friend may have told you.

    1. Not true. I use double space for my literary work. Single space for texting. Screenplays, single. As long as you are consistent that’s all that counts.

    2. one likes a teacher’s aid.(1,2)Write an article on manly writing if you fell that strongly.

  5. I dug your article dude. And yeah, “hold onto your values”, “don’t compromise”, “stay gold” and all the rest have been ridden to death, precisely because everyone ignores it.
    Everyone ,especially split-tails, run on about “i’m true to myself, I’ll never betray my beliefs”…until 5 minutes into their first interview when they’re chugging cock for a corner office and reserved parking.
    I bet you’d be hard-pressed to find a yes-man who didn’t start out as a young idealist.

  6. Why do I always get the impression that these guys who write about independence and freedom are poor losers and this is all just a rationalisation and excuse. You have no freedom unless you have money and assets except to sit on the park bench with a bottle of cheap wine in a paper bag, if that makes you happy and you believe it’s freedom.

  7. If your survival doesn’t depend on it, never betray yourself or your beliefs. Period.
    That’s why I refused to work some menial job with people I knew would be beneath me during that time period I was unemployed (which was around a year). That refusal paid off because I worked on myself during that time and now have a decent job that fits my abilities, and am pondering going into business for myself.
    Had I gone a different route who knows how much time I’d actually have lost? I may have been getting some minor money but I’d have been miserable, and had less time to devote to personal improvement and enlightenment which was crucial to what got me where I am now.
    My only (minor) criticism is that some of the language here just seems pretentious, not that I think you are, Quintus.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Libertas. Points well taken. I think that that people who have not had the choice between a well-paying and stultifying job, and the chance to really do what you want to do, aren’t going to get the point. I see so many people (and I was one of them myself) who take the safe and easy road instead of really having the conviction to try to build something for themselves.
      And as for the language, I don’t hide my enthusiasm for the writing style of the old classics. Sometimes a message can resonate better if it is delivered in a style that is not like everyone else’s.

  8. All I can say about this article is read it again. The cost of the easy money and the sure thing woman will be that the chain will chafe against your neck.
    I have been divorced 10 years now. It was not my choice to be divorced. But it could also be said that I ended up divorced because at a key time of stress, a struggle for survival, I took the easy way out and went with a woman who wanted me far more than I wanted her. And I got that job and that normalcy. And the price of it was stress, misery, and insanity.
    And as I said, the past 10 years I have been divorced and these years have undone all I had accomplished and accumulated during the 17 years of that marriage.
    But these 10 years of freedom have been far better, far more memorable, far more satisfying that those previous years as a chained up dog.
    You are not for sale. You are not put here to be anybody’s slave. If you dig up my oldest comments, that is the message I have always had.
    Get your fist in the air. Stand up. And never be anybody’s slave.

    1. Thanks, Mark. I think that most guys just don’t get this type of advice unless they’ve lived long enough. It takes life experience and the school of hard knocks. It really comes down to the idea that doing a job you lack passion for because of a perceived “safety” is not the way to go. Or staying in a relationship that sucks because you just want to go with the flow is also a dead-end.
      Another illustration of this idea: In my job, I have to meet with prospective clients and see if I want to take their cases. There was a time when I would ignore the warning signs about problem clients. I would perceive that a client was going to be a problem, but I would take the case anyway. And I would do it because I would be seduced by a chunk of money. And I always, always, always regretted it. Because when you sell yourself out for money, you violate some law of the universe…and Fate is a bitch. Having a mentality of abundance would tell me: there will always be another client, and there will always be another case. Of course money is important….everyone knows that. But structuring your whole life around it, to the detriment of your soul, is not good either.

  9. Yes…and an indoor cat…
    I’ve chained myself to the military. Perhaps it’s a bad thing, but honestly, I have certainly been enjoying myself. I can’t think of a job that has stricter rules, but I also can’t think of a job that has better benefits.
    I will say, however, that in all other aspects of my life I have quite a lot of freedom, and as soon as these damn student loans are paid off, I’m going to have to try real hard not to make a complete ass of myself.
    I guess my concern with this kind of thinking is how short-sighted people are. Having your personal liberties and freedoms are all fine and dandy, but there are those who will potentially fall on their faces because they don’t want to make sacrifices.

  10. “Its better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”
    ― Emiliano Zapata
    If we stop obeying to the powerful politicians and business people… I mean if we really stop giving them political power, admiration, respect… If we take away from them everything that belongs to everyone…
    Why should we trade our independence for the right to survive and bargain for a little more comfort?
    And if we don’t obey, what are those cocksuckers going to do?
    Resort to slavery, perhaps?
    Are you fuckin’ kidding me?
    Long live @[email protected]!

  11. OK Dogger, you say you’re a lawyer. Here’s a simple question.
    The year is 1790 and you’re suing someone but want a jury to hear the case. What is the minimum you have to sue for to get a jury?
    I’ll begin with the kindergarten questions first.

  12. “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
    -Friedrich Nietzsche

  13. “Security that comes with the price tag of your freedom is no security at all.”
    On ROK? Interesting. Very, very interesting.
    The above, I must assume, is valid unless you were born with a vagina.

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