What does Autonomy Mean?

The concept of autonomy, which comes from a Greek word, refers to the condition of that or that which, in certain contexts, does not depend on anyone. That is why autonomy is associated with independence, freedom and sovereignty.

For example: “I have worked all my life to achieve Catalan autonomy”, “We must ensure that women have autonomy and can choose how, when and where to work without pressure from their husbands or families”, “This electric car has a autonomy of 40 kilometers ”.

The idea of ​​autonomy is often used with respect to the status that administrative entities within the framework of a federal or national State enjoy. These regions have their own bodies for self-government, even when they are part of a larger entity.


In Spain, autonomous communities are called autonomies. These are territorial entities (such as Catalonia, the Basque Country, Galicia and Madrid) which, although they are part of the order established by the Constitution of Spain, have administrative, executive and legislative autonomy.

Autonomy is the time that a machine can remain in operation without recharging energy or the distance that a vehicle can travel without the need to refuel. If a motorcycle with a full tank of fuel can travel 200 kilometers, it is said to have a range of 200 kilometers. Once this tour is completed, it will be necessary to recharge the tank so that the vehicle can continue to operate.

Nowadays, given the success of portable devices, it is very common to use the term to talk about the time that they can remain active with the battery fully charged. Mobile phones, tablets and video game consoles fall into this group, and their autonomy is measured in hours.

It is very curious to accept that state-of-the-art devices have considerably less autonomy than those we used several decades ago. For example, while Nintendo’s first portable console, the Game Boy, offered about 16 hours of autonomy and one of its later versions was close to 36 hours, the Nintendo Switch, released almost thirty years later, has an average autonomy of 3 and a half hours.

Although there are accessories that can extend the autonomy of any of these devices, they are not always very comfortable to use. The current trend for companies to make products that cannot be opened by users results in the inability to change the battery, so the only solution is to purchase one that connects through the USB port.

This is not ideal, since such external batteries considerably increase the dimensions of the device, and do not always have a gripping mechanism to adjust to it. However, since there are no alternatives accessible to most users, they enjoy peculiar popularity.

Finally, in the field of psychology and philosophy, autonomy refers to the ability of a person to act according to their wishes or beliefs without obeying external influences or pressures. If a person needs to consult with his partner before using some common money or meeting his friends, he lacks autonomy.

It is not easy to move around the world with autonomy, since we must always submit to a series of other people’s decisions, directly or indirectly. As much as we try to walk our own path, unless we completely abandon civilization we will be submerged in the framework established by a government, the rules of neighborhood coexistence and the opinions of our environment. It is important, therefore, to strike a balance in which such external influence does not prevent us from pursuing our goals.