A blog about our shared experience…

Individualism

Post originally published at Nineteen Months

e·go (g, gn. pl. e·go)
1. The self, especially as distinct from the world and other selves
2. In psychoanalysis, the division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality
3 a. An exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit
b. Appropriate pride in oneself; self-esteem
[New Latin, from Latin, I; see eg in Indo-European roots. Sense 2, translation of German Ich, a special use of ich, I, as a psychoanalytic term.]

The individual units that make up society, each one of us, play a concrete role in how our social reality is shaped. If we buy organic, even the Wal-Marts of the world take notice and change or add to what they stock up on. If we respond to large banks’ taking advantage of people through exorbitant charges by moving your business to local banks and credit unions, the Bank of Americas of the world will trip over themselves to change some long-standing policies. In so many areas of social reality, each individual’s decision makes a difference, and the differences that I’ve thus far described are only economic. Companies like Google have designed a different kind of workplace environment from many companies of their size to improve the creative atmosphere for those doing the innovating, rather than stuffing their employees into bland cell-like cubicles. All this demonstrated to me the power of the individual to shape reality.

The other side of this reality for the individual, though, is what I’ve heard described as “unfettered individualism”, which I understand to be closely related to ideas like “survival of the fittest” and “may the best man win”…a mindset that sees “my driveway”, “my yard”, “my job”, “my space” and the like. In short, ways that we’ve managed to teach ourselves and each other in this country to think of ourselves as …Read the entire post here

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