Maple: Interdependence instead of independence

World Cup and Olympic skier Wiley Maple was born and raised in Aspen.
Wiley Maple/Courtesy photo

Independence is a hallmark of American virtue — a great lie touted to the world hive, for we can do nothing without the multitude at our back.

There is a foundation, holding us in the ether, making life all the sweeter. A vast pyramid beneath the pinnacle. We are raised on myth, told of the self-reliant. The self-made man egged on by a ludicrous plan. Rugged individualism, they say, is at the heart of capitalism. For centuries, we have flaunted our independence, our self-sufficiency.

But our world has always been built on the backs of the many.

Countless generations have created our foundation — they wandered the wilderness, eking out what was edible and what was habitable. Learning to plant and to grow. Shifting sound to language, naming the world in an attempt to tame it. Fire and the wheel. Tools of war and industry. Knowledge and infrastructure. Generations toiling under the sun — all to lighten our load, so that we can have a little fun.

It didn’t take one nation 8 years to send a man to the moon; it took one hundred and seventeen billion humans over two hundred thousand years. It was peers upon peers — to throw a rocket anywhere near the closest sphere. There is no such thing as a self-made man; it has always taken a clan, the combined might of man. It is a foolish king who thinks he stands alone upon the throne — forgetting he has been elevated, only by the loan from all those who came before molding the stone.

Of course, there is a place for the idealism of Emerson’s self-reliance and the philosophies of self-sufficiency that empowered Thoreau to build a home all alone. But the reality is that the land was on loan from a friend trying to give a dog a bone.

Even still, each of us has a strange responsibility to “society” to stand against the tragedy and eke out our own mastery. We must learn to swim on our own — for only then can we lend a helping hand to a drowning man. We, each of us, must strive to be “independent,” knowing that the reality is that we will always be interdependent, a cog in the endless chain each of us lends our strength to humanity’s collective brain.

It is only together that a drop of water becomes the rain. There is no doubt that a times a man must stand alone against the storm, to shift the tides and usher in something new to help us all come astride. Such an act inspires the few who become the many and the many become the tide that change the world so that others may rise.

The reality is that there has never been a self-made man.

We all came from a two who made a you. And there is no such thing as a self-made billionaire. The closest anyone has ever come is a single mum (J.K Rowling) ripping a story from the ether to fill our imaginations with something sleeker. But she did not do it alone. She was inspired by Greek mythology and our shared reality and the morality embedded in her book’s ideology derived from Aristotelian philosophy. And then the nameless multitude chopped trees for paper and others pulled oil to ink and print. It was then shipped and shared, as we were all ensnared in this grand affair.

There is no doubt she started it with a grand idea put to paper, but it was we — the millions who bought her books, shared them, and were ensnared by them — who helped her rise to such grandiosity. And luckily, she is no fool and knows we aided in her rule. Becoming one of the few billionaires to give away enough to become just another millionaire. If only the rest were as wise and benevolent, then perhaps we could mend all that seems to break and bend. If only her actions became the trend.

In my own battles to do something of note — to fight for seconds with a body that forever seemed broke — there were times that I, too, thought it was me against you. That I raced alone down the ice and the stone. But now I have grown, from all I was shone. I was never alone. A mass uncountable lends a helping hand to all that we plan, for it takes a village to make a man. It is our vast mountain clan that has given me the chance to make a stand.

When you are in doubt, fearing that you go it alone. Or if you think that you are really so grand to have captured a throne all on your own. Think back to all you have been shown, perhaps you may need to atone …

For you were never alone.

If only we knew this is true,

That I depend on you.

And you depend on me.

Can’t you see?

We are all part of the world tree.

We did it together. With the vast foundation at our feet. I hope to catch you at this Saturday’s meet-and-greet.

There is a foundation that stretches back helping the light breach into the black. We too are part of the stack — only together can we solve all that we lack. Give credit where it’s due; this was all made with by me and you. Interdependence is the closest we’ll ever come to independence. A friend is the foundation.

Wiley Maple ski racing fundraiser

What: Ski racing fundraiser
When: Nov. 18, 5-9 p.m.
Where: Mi Chola

There will be a silent auction with for local shops and ski gear.