Doing research on the topic of “self sufficiency” can take you down a variety of paths, including references to self reliance, independence, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and a lot about survivalist lifestyles.
To me, the height of self sufficiency means being capable of pulling up your own boot straps and creating a way a life that is consistent with your heart’s true desires – a most difficult task, indeed.
One of my favorite books on this topic is Thomas Moore’s “A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do.” In chapter nine, Moore writes about “The Daimon of Work,” explaining that we are all born with a daimon that defines our deepest passions, drives our lives forward, and becomes more prominent as we grow old. Following your daimon is oftentimes not practical because you become more individualistic, free-spirited and inconsistent with the career path you may have landed in over time, especially if you happen to be working for a large corporation that has little regard for humanness. Moore notes that “as a power it tends to urge a person away from the safe and secure life into areas of risk.” People who follow their daimon can expect a struggle. “What for some is instability, for others is loyalty to a daimon.”
Related to daimon is duende, which Moore says is “the ability to put your life on the line for what you do and to do it without regard for the approval of polite society.” One can be led by daimon and filled with duende.
While Moore does not solve the challenges and struggles that come with following your daimon, the fact that he identifies with it with such clarity is enough to create a certain camaraderie-like feeling inside when you read about it, knowing that there are many people who strive to do great things outside of the callous, materialistic, and overly corporate social constructs that too often define us as human beings.