Most people like to believe that they are independent-free of a pack, their own person, unswayable by peer pressure. Is this actually true? Some philosophers and sociologists actually believe that there is wisdom in crowds and that many people are guided through life by a sense of wanting to "belong." So which is actually true?
How many times have you heard the sentence "I'm an individual, just like everybody else!" Or "My friends and I are all individuals. We just agree a lot." The fact of the matter is that most people seek out a crowd or a tribe of like minded people to belong to. The sentence "I'm an individual just like everybody else" is just about as popular as the idea that "no man is an island."
When it comes to independence, many people try to strike a balance. In America, children and adults alike seek out like minded individuals to form alliances with. These friendships and relationships are based on a common philosophy or ideology and while this sameness is the reason for the bond, the individual parties struggle to retain their individual independence. This can often lead to a sociological kind of nomad-ness as people drift from group to group trying to find the best "fit" for themselves.
Politically speaking, independence is what happens when a new nation is formed and declares itself free of the laws and rules of the country that it used to belong to. The United States declared its Independence from England a couple of centuries ago, Bolivia declared its independence form the Ottoman Empire-the list of independence declarations is as long as history itself.
Much like individuals, nations that declare their independence immediately try to model their rules and regulations upon other models that they admire. They build themselves up while searching for other nations to form allegiances with-nations that they can trade with, fight with and, ultimately, live with in harmony. Even in a broad sense, the need to "belong"...