In Individualism lies our hope

An interesting class discussion on the need to be connected with everyone in an institution, had me countering it with my personal philosophy. To me, connecting is as important as not being connected. Staying with people is as important as shunning them.

In short, the balance between individualism and collectivism needs to be managed, and managed well.

Collectivists have for long mocked individualists as being selfish beings. Perceptually that's an allegation that can stick. Michael C Keehn puts a note out for individualists that I think sums up what its about and what priceless outcomes it has for humanity.

'Within the individualist philosophy lies a hope for the future. It surmises that philosophically man is incomplete but that he can improve. That a better future is possible as not only mankind’s expanse of knowledge widens, but also as we, as individuals, evolve in thought and manner to higher understandings. It harnesses man’s innate individuality as a driving force not only for individual growth, but also as a source of uniqueness for truly new thought and ideas while desire becomes the motivational force for societal growth. The progress of society is dependant on a diverse spectrum of new ideas and points of view and the ambition to see them realized. Diversity of thought and desire are not only wanted but needed.

The collectivist Utopia however takes a radically different approach. It sees human desire in a far dimmer light, and essentially personal desires are either animalistic in nature or a result of pride, arrogance, or greed. This demonization of desire places human uniqueness at odds with society. For once all animal requirements are met by food, water, clothing and adequate shelter, and fear from want eliminated by assurances of future yield, human’s should then have no other desire other than service to the society which provides for them. Other desires, personal interests and the like, are again pride, arrogance, greed. This system of collectivism not only wants but requires homogenization of thought. Dissent from the collective harms it and can destroy it. So in both philosophical model and in practical application we see the totalitarian hallmark as collectivism evolves mechanisms to homogenize thought and silence dissent.'

Read Michael's complete note here.


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