Interdependent by Design

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.  ~Thomas Merton defines the term interdependence as the state of being dependent upon one another.  Examples are given for interdependent economies as well as little universes we call ecosystems.  On a macro level, coronavirus has shown us just how interdependent we all are.  On a micro level, the workings of this concept are not always so evident.

For example, we humans host an ecosystem in our guts called the microbiome.  That community consists of up to 40,000 species of bacteria that help digest food, extract nutrients, build or diminish the immune system, and release waste products which inform the brain on mood and metabolism.  The microbiome is interdependent with every other system in the body, a fact which should be considered when any kind of health issue or disease presents itself.  (Learn how the microbiome can help with weight loss here.)

Similar to our hosting of this internal ecosystem, Nature hosts humans within an external ecosystem.  We depend on soil, plants, the ocean, and animals for our basic needs.  Soil, like our microbiome, is an ecosystem unto itself.  The life in our soils determine the health of our plants.  (Read more on our struggling but resilient soils here.)  Plants release oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and have the ability to clean our toxic wastes.  (Check out this article for more on that.)  Our oceans’ seaweed is responsible for producing even more oxygen than land plants.  (Both rainforests and oceans have been referred to as the lungs of the planet.)  Animals play an important role in the population control of other animals as well as inhibiting plant overgrowth. And domesticated animals, as you know, can provide us with companionship and unconditional love.  By caring for our environment, we are interdependently supporting the soil, plants, ocean, and animals that sustain us.

In her book Symbiosis in Cell Evolution: Microbial Communities in the Archean and Proterozoic Eons, microbiologist Lynn Margulis writes about the process undertaken by ancient bacteria which resulted in their becoming interdependent.  About 2 billion years ago, she explains, bacteria covered our planet.  To complete their life processes of respiration, photosynthesis, and fermentation, they “fought” with other bacteria for natural resources.  When the number of bacteria increased, forcing resources to go further, the bacteria found themselves in crisis, and began exploiting each other.  Many died as a result.  Because it became evident that none of them would survive if this competitive, abusive way of living continued, they realized the need for interdependence.  Due to making a shift which was better for all, their kind is still around today, living in a cooperative known as the nucleated cell.  Doesn’t that account, paused at the crisis, remind you of the human story?  

According to, The interdependence of biological systems offers strong evidence for intelligent design . . . They function synergistically in such a way that the sum of their actions is greater than the addition of the separate, individual actions.  It’s pretty clear that we were intelligently created to coexist with soil, plants, other animals, the ocean, and all of humankind.  Maybe this would be a good time to embrace our interdependence with the micro and the macro so that our kind might still be around for the next billion or so years.

Blessings for Embracing Interdependence,


The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

28 thoughts on “Interdependent by Design

  1. My gut micro biome was destroyed by elevated estrogen levels from birth control and a hereditary inability to efficiently break down estrogen. We have done so much foolishly to destroy this balance by telling women that the childless pursuit of independence via hormone based birth control is the answer. My children have severe nonverbal autism because I had no healthy micro biome to pass on to them. Estrogen disrupted progesterone levels that were needed for a child’s developing brain and to support the micro biome. Knowing this the medical system is switching to more progesterone based birth control which is harming a different group of mothers and their children. Society won’t get better without acknowledging the mistakes and errors we have made and are making. Our values must change from independence to interdependence to line up with a reality that is health promoting.

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  2. This is beautiful and so true.
    Also it is amazing how our “gut” carries the weight of our anxiety.
    I appreciate Melanie’s comment. I wish more people understood how damaging medication is to our well being and to our offspring.
    Many blessings to you Lisa!

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  3. What a GREAT blog Lisa! One of my all time favorite favorite movies is “The Lion King”. When I read this blog, it reminded me of the movie. The theme of the movie was “The Circle of Life”, which was also a song in the movie that explained and showed the viewers the interdependence that takes place in the jungle. Mufasa, who is the king of the pride of lions explains “The Circle of Life” to his young son, Simba. He tells Simba that plants and animals depend on one another. He explains that the plants not only provide food and oxygen for all living things but also provide shelter for the animals. He then tells Simba that when the animals die, they decompose and become natural fertilizers for the plants. He continues by explaining to the young cub that in turn, the plants depend on the animals for nutrients as well as pollination, seed dispersal, etc… The Lion King is an excellent movie that shows the viewers just how important interdependence is in our World as a whole!

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  4. Lisa, more and more, I grow completely in awe of your wisdom, compassion, and sensibility into life and its connection, one with the All. Love, Betty

    Liked by 1 person

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