Dec 08

By now you probably know John Locke already. He is a freelance writer and the author of ‘Ten Lies We Believe’, which led to hefty and interesting discussions on this blog. John was so nice and wrote another guest post for nomad4ever. This one goes even a step further and shows the way, on how we can overcome the dependence cycle we are trotting every day; right ahead to a road of fulfilment:

Your true self – a sovereign individual

An independent life is one that is lived at a place and pace of your own choice. It is a life where you are reap what you sow – you are rewarded for the work that you do and you also are responsible for risks that you take on. You choose what you believe yourself, after careful consideration and are not bound by convention. You recognise that you have rights that are inherent, not dependent on government recognition. In short, you own your own life. You are not the property of a government, church or school.

Most importantly, living an independent life means living on your own terms, not as a slave. You can be a slave to government, employer or even those around you. The master is the person who holds the slave down. Slavery is a result of not making a decision of your own but passively accepting the decisions of others. The majority of people in our society are slaves – very few live independent lives.

We are individuals, not part of a collective. We are not anyone’s slave, or a tool to be used for the end of another person – unless we choose to be.

The life of a slave

An enslaved human is someone who can never achieve a free and prosperous life. It is a life lived for someone else rather than for yourself.

An existence of slavery means that you can never achieve your own potential, at most you will be seen as a useful tool, someone who can produce or provide something, but with no real rights of your own. What you produce is the property of the master. The slave’s life is only worth what others think it is – it is not regarded as having any value. The slave does not make his or her own decisions, but is told what to think and what to do.

Being a slave also means living in fear. If you are a slave, you will constantly try to please the master to avoid being punished. This means that you will worry about your job, not doing anything too different. Freedom is when you can step outside of what you are familiar with, those shackles that have become comfortable, and life a different life.

What is keeping you in slavery?

What keeps you, an inherently free person with your own will, enslaved?slavery.JPG

The immediate shackles that most people see is the government system, or the financial system, or their employer, or the educational system. These systems all attempt to hold us back and keep us as slaves for the benefit of others. But none of these systems actually lock us up in physical shackles.

Our prison is a prison of the mind. “They” get their hold over us by making us believe an interlocking series of lies. To break out, we simply need to choose freedom and learn to think for ourselves, understand the lies and see the truth. We need to understand what is different between the free, independent person and the slave.

Slave characteristics

Specifically, what are some characteristics of a slave?

A slave believes that the government in some way benefits him, even though it is quite simple to see that the services that the government provides are generally of poor quality and nowhere near the value stolen in taxation. The stolen money actually goes to support other people who choose to not contribute – this does not help the slave.

A slave also believes that democracy and party politics in some way provides a choice. The slave puts his faith in these systems despite the fact that they just keep recycling the same old tired cliches. He believes in government – that people need to be kept in line.

The slave is kept happy with game shows, half baked news commentary, a few movies that don’t need much thinking about, and the latest fictional novel. No new ideas interrupt his world view.

Financially, the slave is kept alive, but never really prospers irrespective of earnings. Part of this is because of taxation theft, but the slave also accept advertising at face value. Lacking a soul, he compensates for this void by becoming a consumer, then wonders why acquisition still leaves a feeling of emptiness.

When the slave is confronted with new ideas, he can accept that there might be possibly some truth, but the resultant cognitive dissonance and the shock of potential change means that he quickly rejects the ideas – usually quoting the conventional wisdom. The slave is not comfortable with thinking for himself – except in unimportant matters (what political party to vote for or what football team to support)

Characteristics of the independent person

There aren’t many independent persons around. Here are some characteristics to help you identify them:

Firstly, the independent person has their own views on most things – usually different to those of the mainstream. They listen to different music, watch different films, use different software and read different books. They do this because they are hungry for ideas and want to understand, explore and appreciate the richness of life, even if this involves taking a different path.

The independent person desires to earn their living from their own efforts and expects to be rewarded for them. He or she does not desire a subsidy, unwarranted payment or handout. The independent person prides herself on earning prosperity through exercise of skills and discipline. He will carefully husband financial assets to provide for future prosperity.

An independent person values achievement, and does not seek power over others. He recognises that the purpose of life is to realise one’s own maximum potential.

The independent person chooses a lifestyle. She seeks an existence that provides adequate time for relaxation and enjoyment of life. He does not rush through life, or work like a slave.

By definition, the independent person lives life on their own terms, not the terms of others. He will do this even if it involves leaving a familiar life or situation. This is because the independent person is confident of their own ability to deal with the situation, using their rational mind as a tool, not relying on others.

Breaking out and living life to the fullest

When you were growing up, did you dream of a dull, unfulfilled life constrained by poverty?


You wanted something that was adventurous and prosperous, where you could be creative and have fun. You were dreaming of an independent life.

The first step to living such a life is to understand that it is possible. Your freedom has been stolen from you, but the cage is unlocked and you can just walk out – if you choose to.

Secondly, understand the lies that YOU believe. Ask yourself what you are waiting for, what is holding you back. Then step back and see whether it is true. You can learn a lot by reading widely and travelling to meet new people. Knowledge and experience is the antidote to lies.

The first question to ask when you hear something is “Is this fact, or is it someone’s opinion”. You need to be able to tell the difference between the two. A fact is independently verifiable. For example, it is a fact that if you spend money, then you no longer have it. An opinion is someone’s value judgement, for example that “you really should buy this new car”.

In our society, opinions are often given more weight that facts. This is because slaves are so used to being told what to think by the masters (governments, the media, corporations, educational institutions) that the ability to form their own conclusions has atrophied.

Also ask “How do I benefit from this, and how does the other party benefit?”. Being a sovereign individual involves being a trader. A trader is someone who accepts fair value in a mutually beneficial trade. If all the benefits are for someone else, then that is not a trade that you want to accept.

Think about the non beneficial arrangements that you accepted as a slave – unpaid overtime at work, time wasted with petty rules, money stolen from you in taxes. It is easy to see the benefits for others, but there were none for you. The independent life will leave these arrangements and make his own, more acceptable trades. In some situations, the former master may completely control the playing field. In this case, play your game elsewhere, don’t try to win against a stacked deck.

Next steps

Once you have freed yourself from the lies, you’ll see things differently. This will involve changes. You will need to break away from the things that have kept you back. You can see that the cage is open, now you’ll have to step out.

Sovereignity - Erasing our bordersFirstly, you’ll need to get your financial life in order. This means understanding that prosperity is your right. Money is the tool that can help give you freedom. Only slaves have no right to their own property or wealth.

You need to learn about investments, running businesses, and operating offshore. Don’t be content to trust the “experts” with your money. Take responsibility for your own prosperity.

Secondly, you’ll need to sever your connections with the systems of slavery. The ticket out of some of these is the passport. This gives you the opportunity to travel overseas and see a bit more of the world without having to join into other systems.

Finally, you have to keep learning and growing to stop becoming a slave again. Read different books. Meet different people. Most importantly, continue to weigh up new ideas, asking “Is this a fact or opinion?” and “How do I benefit from this?”. Develop your thinking ability like an athlete develops a muscle – by practise.

(c) 2006 by John Locke

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written by Chris

18 Responses to “Living an Independent Life”

  1. AndyNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I really like this post. It is helpful for each of us personally to examine the things that we do so we can determine what our motivation is for doing them. How much of what we do is forced on us? How much do we do of our own free will and choice?

    Another idea occurred to me while I was reading your post: could we live a more independent life by effectively changing nothing in the way that we do things, but by only altering the way we think about them?

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  4. MariaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    A bunch of platitudes and anarchistic propaganda. Abuse – or misuse – of power by politians and bureaucrats are a problem, but anarchy would create a lot more problem than it could solve. An “independent person” – with a machete? – against all the world? I have lived under communism as well – and hated it with a vengeance – to the point of leaving everything behind, but anticommunist does not mean anarchist. Anarchism is a primitive, very incomplete, thought.

  5. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Maria,

    thanks for your comment! It’s very much appreciated.

    Actually the article is not about anarchy and running around in a jungle with a machete.

    It’s more giving ideas on freeing your mind from the boundaries of today’s society and living your own life.

    But I can understand, why you are angry with both communists and anarchists. They both lead in wrong directions…


  6. David RichNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Having finished my 14th year of fulltime international travel I tend to agree with the sentiments of nomad4ever, as illustrated by my website. David Rich

  7. sarangaNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Great Article, Keep it up. I wish Everyone could read because as human beings we are taught caution(and fear) and in a manner which stays in the mind(in the subconscious?)and with growth, other things like racial, religious,political,gender-based biases and bigotry get firmly implanted in the mind making us Slaves.
    with my little knowledge I think only four human beings made serious effort to try to overcome. They are Buddha, Jesus,Gandhi and Mandela.

  8. 3 Secrets to Early Retirement (and Life like a Nomad forever) | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

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  9. MaryNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    I like this post very much .Although my English is not very well,i am usually to come here to see what you have said .i think what you have said here can make me more confident and can be good to my English studying.
    Now i am preparing for GRE exam,and i will take the exam on 19th,February,2008.I believe in myself and i am sure i can go to American two years later.
    See you next time.

  10. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Don’t worry Mary – your English is definitely good enough. At least you learned a second language – that is already more than most native English-speakers can say of themselves. Best of luck to your exams and I will keep my fingers crossed for your big America trip! :D

  11. MaryNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    Chris,I’m more confident seeing your words to me .I’m sorry for my absence for so long a time.the last few days I’m quite busy with the TOEFL ibt registration.I’m so lucky to get a seat after two full-days fight.
    And there ‘s some words from the bottome of my heart,and that’s I wish all of us can have a nice mood every day.
    Chris, Iwant to bother you something.I dont quite understand your last sentence to me whitch is “I will keep my fingers crossed for your big America trip”! Would you like to explain it for me?

  12. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    It means nothing else than that I wish you all the best for your planning! In Germany we term it “I press my thumbs for you that everything will work out well”, but the English term is a bit different. ;)

  13. Maximilian Haru RadityaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I thought I were alone when I have this mindset of independence in my mind. Now I know, I’m not alone :). It’s nice to have this article as it gives me a perspective about myself better. Thanks John and you, Chris, for providing such a great article.

    P.S.: it seems you currently live in Indonesia, right?

  14. Eloine SuangsinNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Most of the time, it is better to live independently but there are times that you will really feel alone and lonely because you chose to be independent.

  15. NoelNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Well, I dont think that living in a place and pace of your own choice is the only reason for you to be called independent. For me, as long as you can stand to your decision and feel that you are the one who can only decide foryourself, you are independent enough.

  16. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Noel, agree with you and for sure it’s a different thing for everyone. You are independent, if you can afford to define your life like you want to and not be bound to the limits society tries to put onto you. :D

  17. PatrickWNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I was recently told by an American woman friend & dance partner that if I move to the Dominican Republic, “They would slit your throat.” Hm…funny, don’t millions of of tourists go the Dominican Republic every year, and millions more go to other exotic destinations in the Caribbean? When I walked around the beach, I didn’t see a million dead bodies with their throats slit. The kicker is that she is originally from Jamaica, an island in the Caribbean! It also turns out that she too had a long-distance relationship with a Jamaican boyfriend whom she met while on vacation. Funny how she came out both the island and the relationship with her throat intact. It turns out that her negative attitude was because “If you men all go off finding your exotic girlfriends, what is left for us American women?” Talk about mind control through fear. Apparently those who want to control you always have something to gain from you.

  18. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Yeah, PatrickW, that is simply ‘Crab Mentality’. They are jealous, afraid to look beyond their garden fence and they are also brainwashed by the media that ‘the world out there is dangerous’ – so they behave like Crabs in a pot of Crabs. Every crab that tries to get out is simply drawn back by the other crabs. How come, billions of people survive anywhere else on this planet? And how come the cities with the highest murder and crime rates are in the U.S.? Doesn’t all make sense somehow, does it? ;;)

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