Hi all, I hope everyone is keeping well. Iv been thinking more about Individualism and collectivism of late. I wondered just what I believe about both, I thought it might be helpful to others that are seeking to improve their mental health. I have written about such things in the past I just wanted to see if my position had shifted, it had not. A strong sense of the individual self and autonomy are important to cultivating a good sense of self and peace of mind, though be aware this is what I discovered for myself and how I have come to understand things. This is primarily for myself though I hope it might help others. The premise of individualism and of collectivism are directly opposed to each other, they stand as incompatible as chalk and cheese. So, the best place to start is to outline both and then what I have come to in conclusion for myself. I will outline individualism first then collectivism.
Individualism posits that any group is comprised of individuals and that individuals are the primary unit of the group, it is individuals that sense and it is individuals that act. It says that individuals are the sole holders of knowledge, that gather knowledge and share knowledge. That the individual units have a life that belongs to him/her and are distinct, that the individual is sovereign and has natural rights. That the individual is an end in him/herself. That only an individual is capable of understanding and acting in the world. In the metaphysical sense that the individual is real and primary. Individualism classifies as virtues self-realise and personal independence. As a doctrine it advocates freedom from government regulation in the pursuit of personal economic goals, it advocates for minimal government and taxation. That individuals from groups to achieves goals, that the group is metaphysically unreal. Namely that the group does not have a mind only individuals do. Its most basic sense individualism is the idea that an individual’s life belongs to the individual not the group, having the right to do what one wishes with one’s own life.
Collectivism posits that the group is the primary unit, that it is the group that is the primary unit of moral concern. That knowledge is constructed by individuals in interaction not by the individuals themselves. That it is the society that produces knowledge not the individual. That an individual’s life is important only in so far as it is useful to the group. According to collectivism the group or society is metaphysically real and that the individual is an abstraction, holding that a group made up of individual’s is a fiction. As virtues are beholden to the individual themselves collectivism holds no view on virtues or vice. As a doctrine collectivism argues for the collective ownership of property, the abolishment of personal property. It advocates for big government, centralised authority and high taxes (where such Is applicable). It advocates for the centralisation of all directive social and industrial power. In its most basic sense collectivism is that idea that one’s life does not belong to oneself, rather it belongs to group or society.
As I understand it is that individualism speaks to the social aspect of life, it doesn’t ignore it or deny it. We come together to achieve goals, we learn to work and cooperate through the principle’s reciprocity. While collectivism has the notion of eusociality, that we find in most insects. (I talked about this other posts along with individualism) I guess it comes down to what you believe about evolution, wither or not you’re a group selectionist or an individual selectionist. I fall into the latter camp; this can be read about in blog 004. (Though I recommend doing your research.)
It seems to me that collectivism cares very little about the individual’s wellbeing, caring more about the mass group. Individuals in a collective are expendable, holding no value in virtues or the character of a person. Merely the ideological identity they possess. Without the ideas of individualism there is no notion of self-betterment, individual wellbeing and individuals’ mental health. The group has no mind therefore it has no conscience, no individual responsibility. Thus, if a member of a group did something the hole group would be punished as we see in such revolutions as the communist revolution in Russia. Where tens of millions died or in Cuba or any such paces collective ideologies have been pushed. Without the notions of individual liberties, reasonability, self-reliance I don’t think I would be here today. That is why I think it is important to cling to the ideas of individualism in a world of increasing collectivism, the collective doesn’t care about one only what one can do for it.
Individualism is important to developing a good mental health as it recognises one’s distinctiveness, allows for self-improvement and It encourages self-reliance. without it ones is subject to mercy of a group and forced to subsume identities and beliefs they don’t truly hold and loose ones self, which is a tragedy.
Anyway thanks for reading my rambling, I’m sure others can put it more elementally than I. Remember I am always keen to hear your thoughts on these topics and whether you agree or disagree. What have I got what have I got right in your opinion. Stay well all.