Individualism is a concept with a very long and very controversial history. Before talking about this let us take a moment. As we enter this new year with new hopes, and dreams, with a fresh new pallet. Take a moment, take a breath, and look around. The world is full of chaos like it was. There is suffering, danger, and sorrow everywhere around us. All these things make us question a lot of things. These things make us question the existence of the world. Make us question our roles in it. Make us question whether our roles impact others and vice-versa.
SAYINGS OF BUDDHA AND WEBER
Gautama Buddha once said, “the world is full of suffering. Every suffering has a cause. There is an end to this suffering. There is a perfect way to end this suffering. ”. By saying this he meant to say, everything which exists in the world is interrelated. There is a dependent origination of everything. Nothing is independent. Similarly, a famous sociologist Max Weber also stated that most of the actions which exist in the world are social actions that have a social nature, i.e., these actions are influenced by the actions or behavior of any other individual.
All these things point towards one thing: it doesn’t matter how much a person tries; they live in a society and are part of society.
A SOCIAL THEORY
In recent years we have seen the theme of individualism take on a big leap. It’s a concept to be self-reliant, to be independent. In terms of social theory, it refers to a theory that favors individual rights and freedom over the collective good. In more similar terms, it refers to a theory promoting individual rights, keeping our freedom above the collective good, not always going for the good of society, but also working for the betterment of ourselves.
Additionally, individualism is linked to artistic and bohemian pursuits and lifestyles where there is a preference for self-expression and experimentation over custom or the views and actions of the majority.
The term came in during the French revolution. The term has various sides and related concepts, it is related to the economical term of capitalism, a system where there is minimum intervention by the government in the workings of the industrial sector. This theory is the total opposite of the communist theory given by Karl Marx talking about the collective good and no capitalism. During the age of the cold war, it was also individualism, capitalism, and the USA versus communism, the welfare of all, and the USSR. But today individualism has taken a different form.
The various questions that arise in our mind about individualism are:
Can an individual exist in isolation? Can a person be self-reliant? What if everyone goes into self-reliance? How will society function? Will society even exist?
Before trying to answer these questions for going into further questions, let us acknowledge one fact the human mind is full of curiosity. It searches for answers. It’s rational. The outside world intrigues our minds. And we love it. The mind feels awake when it is full of questions and ways to answer those questions. Now let’s move on and try to find the answers to these questions.
We will try to see whether an individual can live in complete isolation or not. Can you imagine living in complete isolation? Living in a self-reliant world? It means not being dependent upon any other individual. Honestly, it is not possible. Humankind has been living in a cultural background for soo long that an individual can’t live in a completely isolated atmosphere. Culture impacts us all in every direction possible.
Recent studies have found that a girl when kept in isolation for long periods had no impact of any sort of culture or individual upon her. The girl when found was misunderstood to be deaf and was unable to speak. There was another instance when an 11-year boy who was culturally developed when kept under isolation for a long time, forgot all the basic human behavior such as event eating.
These instances are clear enough to prove the fact that an individual becomes a human when in society, becomes a person due to socialization. In society, interaction with others makes an individual a human. Freedom, rights, and duties come along with the human.
The concept of individualism has gone to the concept of living in complete isolation, all these notions are a total misconception.
The base of society is indeed an individual and it’s important to acknowledge their rights and freedoms and not just the development of the whole at all times. Although it’s also not correct that an individual should always be against society.
DEEPALI AND VANSHIKA