Far-hearted is a term once used by the San (known as “Bushmen”) of South Africa.
Think for a moment.
What could it mean?
A far-hearted person is one who lacks generosity, who fails to reciprocate, who hoards wealth for him/herself, who does not see a “whole.” The San existed on a gift economy–giving gifts instead of exchanging through barter or money. Such a nice thing to do, but of course, not without purpose. It led to group survival.
Like everything, this definition of far-hearted is complex. It is completely plucked out of context. It rings of capitalism. It suggests a spread-out world of communities with no ties.
I was raised to cherish my independence. No, it wasn’t a girl power thing; my brothers were too. Coasting into adulthood, I remained determined to never depend on anyone for anything. Twenty-year-old me often preached to friends about how my boyfriend (now husband) and I had a vision of remaining 100% independent from one another even within a dedicated partnership. I was vying for an ideal. I didn’t want to get lost in someone else’s folds. Neither did he. My plan: We would be together, but I would never depend on him for anything and vise versa.
Americans especially pride themselves on an independence that is largely bullshit. A human, according the books, is a social creature. We all do depend on each other–for food, for love, for stability, for reassurance, for boundaries, for shelter, for everything.
You depend on your UPS man. You depend on the woman slapping mayonnaise on your sandwich at Subway. You depend on a smile from your child.
The down-side of depending on people? You will be disappointed. You will feel pain.
I would place a bet that we are shifting, RIGHT NOW, into an era of interdependence. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Have we forgotten that natural ecosystems are built upon interdependence and symbiotic relationships? Yep.
Reminder: That is the way of the world. It is how the world sustains itself. You can’t escape it.
[All this said, I do believe that we are the only ones responsible for our own happiness. In this post, I'm talking about basic survival and the acknowledgement that we depend on one other.]
Trite as it sounds, what about aspiring towards being….The Near-Hearted Clan?