While self reliance is usually understood to be a positive quality, I believe it is generally misunderstood. Many take it as self-sufficient but this word is totally misleading, and in fact can not be. I have heard of men who have gone into the wilderness and lived for some years without human contact, perhaps they may be called self-sufficient but only for a short while, and even then they were only able to do what they did as a result of the teachers they had and the tools made by others. Humans need community, and upon the community we rely. It is our nature. Within this context self reliance has a positive understanding when referring to the confidence one has as we come to know and manifest our "true" self.
Community exists at every level from the Family to all of humankind and beyond. Without community we die. Though the body exists we are dead on the inside. It is only within a community that we may achieve true happiness; that is, the feeling of self fulfillment. However, many have forgotten this truth or perhaps never even properly understood its meaning which has lead to the predicament we have. Gaia is hurting. I believe she will survive, but many question if humans as well as many other species will. In the past I may have taken this position, but today I am convinced that it is our destiny to create, as Charles Eisenstein puts it, "the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible" and communities like TJT (Transition Joshua Tree) are the reason why. We are in transition. As Elizabet Satouris suggests we are like the hungry caterpillar consuming everything it can until it ceases and ultimately becomes the beautiful butterfly. In the human realm change is often resisted and therefore may be painful, but it need not be so if we embrace it with the faith of a child and the Love that is the essence of who we are.
Separate we are alone, together we are a community. The local community is necessary - it nourishes the body, mind and soul, but the ultimate goal must be the connection with all Life - with Gaia herself. If we consider the intelligence at the cellular level connected to every other cell in the body communicating to create the amazing thing called the human we must be humbled; yet it is in this way as we join with others that we will bring about that "beautiful world". Be the change!
May the Force be with you,