Our next door neighbours have guests staying with them. I cannot see into their yard but can clearly hear the various interactions when in my own back yard. ‘I need you to cooperate’ was spoken by the visiting mother to her five year old daughter. A lot of information can be exchanged in a few words even with no access to body language. The tone was fine, but what about the words themselves?
It seems likely that this mother does not understand sovereignty and does not view her daughter as sovereign. Not at all unusual in today’s world. First, let us place this situation in a sovereign context. In a sovereign context, this would be phrased as a request. Something like, ‘Would you help me with something?’ The request would then be made and a dialogue would take place to ensure everyone’s point of view was fully understood. Then the child would be free to decide. Once the child decided, the parent would accept the child’s choice. That is sovereignty.
In sovereignty, we are each free to request whatever we choose to request. Once the request is made and fully understood, the other gets to choose. Once the choice is made, it is accepted and we move on. If the choice is to cooperate, that is what takes place. If the choice is to decline, the chooser continues with what is important to them and the requestor goes back to the drawing board, looking at the infinite alternatives to the cooperate solution they were envisioning. That is an interaction between two sovereign individuals.
I had the world’s best teacher in learning sovereignty. She was my second wife and when we married, sovereignty was not on the radar screen for either of us. We were both happy with a form of co-dependency and a homeostasis where she was the boss in our home and I was the chief architect of our future. A few years into our eighteen year marriage, I read Covey’s 7 Habits and decided to adopt them. The chapter on win/win agreements was particularly challenging. A pivotal point came when she decided she did not want to go visit my family that Christmas. Who knows what I would have done prior to adopting Covey’s win/win stuff; but from that perspective it was clear that the win/win solution was to accept my wife’s decision and proceed with the options available to me. I found I could easily do this and we began a new Christmas tradition of separate visits to our respective families. That was for me a true AHA moment and I found I could live with any and all of my wife’s choices.
From that moment forward, I treated my wife as a sovereign person and essentially followed the sovereign process as outlined above. Not long after that epiphany, I decided to be sovereign in my own choices. That was a much harder and longer road as my wife did not enter willingly into this decision. In her world-view she ‘needed me to cooperate’. She welcomed the shifts in me that treated her as a sovereign person but resisted shifting herself in order to treat me as a sovereign person.
Fortunately, sovereignty comes from within and no one can take away our sovereignty against our will. To paraphrase Viktor Frankl in his autobiography as a prisoner in Nazi death camps, ‘They could take away my liberty, but they could not take away my freedom.’ My wife could withhold her permission but she could not prevent me from acting as a sovereign person. This may sound like a war zone but in practice, I would work very hard to understand her point of view and make her feel understood, then I would point out that it was my life and my decision. Once that was understood, sometimes not agreed, I would make my choice and she would find by default that she could live with my choice.
The truth is we do not ‘need anyone to cooperate’. We are infinite beings with infinite possibilities and we can easily deal with whatever choices another makes. That is what individual sovereignty is all about. We each create our own reality and if another is unwilling to cooperate, we accept their choice, and we find another way. That is the essence of sovereignty and of freedom.
Freedom for humanity…