We are clearly living in a time of veneration of the individual in western society. In North America, it’s part of our mythology. The strong, independent, self-sufficient person is admired, and you see this reinforced in every area. Paul Simon sang about being a rock, an island against all the rest. The Marlboro Man squints against the sun, confident in his capacity to tame that stallion and build that barn single-handed. Rambo wins the Vietnam War all on his own.
Anything that deep in our psyche commands there unchallenged. There’s no option to consider since all other options get dismissed even before we really entertain them. We might flirt with alternatives like socialism and collectivism, but only when we’re young and impressed by challenging the status quo.
Individualism – one man, one vote – the democracy of individual rights, obviously has its place as a worldview to govern our lives. But it can stimulate neurosis and even backwardness if not analyzed.
The Limitation of Selfishness, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.