Individualism and free society

Freedom can not be absolute.

“Despite romantic rhetoric, freedom cannot be absolute. To argue for total choice (a meaningless concept) or total individuality is to argue against any for of community or society altogether. If each person, busily doing this thing, were to be wholly different from every other, no two humans would have any basis for communication.
It is ironic that people who complain most loudly that people cannot “relate” to one another, or cannot “communicate” with one another, are often the very same people who urge greater individuality. ………The more individualized people are, the more difficult it is to attain identification”

(The above extract is from a book called “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, published in 1971 at page 321.)

I do not remember any other book where an author can be so accurate in predicting half of the things and so wrong in predicting the other half. While Toffler had been remarkably correct about sociological aspects of future, he terribly missed the technological aspects. The example is Internet. There is no mention of Internet in entire book. Computers are mentioned but not the internet. In 1971, he could not foresee it coming.

Individual or identity crises.

Any how the above extract about individuality and social problems of identity crises it will create is, something we see every time we look out of window. I wanted to write about it but when I came across above, I decided not to reinvent the wheel and accordingly I extracted the above stanza. We are going through a hyper-individualism drive. No approval of any kind matters. An individual, even if his/her actions resemble actions of an animal, will claim it is as his right of individualism.

While loneliness, depression and bipolar etc. disorders are rapidly spreading like epidemic, we fail to look upon our self imposed isolation. We interpret something said by another person on the touchstone of our individuality and get offended by it.

Most of the problems of juvenile and not so juvenile are caused by misunderstanding of “choices” and “individuality”. Those in the business of parenting and counselling would be failing in their duty if the above aspect is not taken up by them.

About Sandeep Bhalla

A lawyer, thinker, author, Linux/Ubuntu power user and sometime an economist or gardener or philosopher or cook or photographer depending upon the current thought and environment. View all posts by Sandeep Bhalla

2 responses to “Individualism and free society

  • 21stcenturyxstian

    Interesting, as always. The “stuff” of life is complicated…always. Anything carried to an extreme becomes problematic, even “noble” things like freedom. Decades ago someone noted that freedom without boundaries is about as useless as a river without banks…Rollo May I think.

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