Furthest Right

Individualism versus Holism

Conspiracy theorists believe that somewhere a powerful force is manipulating the system so that, against all appearance, it is run for a hidden agenda. This rarely makes sense because people with that kind of power rarely need more power; they simply do what they want and everyone else follows along.

In the writings here, we look into an anti-conspiracy theory: that humans tend toward insanity in individuals and validate it in groups, leading them to aggressively deny reality to the point that illusion prevails. This alone explains how widespread and yet consistent the failure of human groups has been.

We all obey a sociability contract — never mind the “social contract” for now — which holds that in order to enable each of us to pursue his desires, we will pretend that we have free will and are the causes of ourselves, therefore biology, the divine, and culture do not matter; only the individual and the social group do.

The two create each other. A wildman in nature has no use for self-image; he simply does what occurs him to him as most logical, interesting, or funny. Only when there is a group do we need to regulate our own image, and this requires that we manipulate others with the fake gift of assigning them ultimate authority in their own little world-bubble.

In this light, individualism and collectivism are the same: a group agreement to extend to the individual the right to exist in denial of some facets of reality. This enables the individual to suppress certain needs, like civilization and personal sanity, and the accompanying risks of collapse and insanity.

Individualism in this sense means “me first, before all else, except where I must do what is sociable in order to preserve my individualism.” This follows from the nature of individualism as a society organized of individuals, instead of being comprised of cultures, faith, and natural order:

Modern individualism emerged in Britain with the ideas of Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham, and the concept was described by Alexis de Tocqueville as fundamental to the American temper. Individualism encompasses a value system, a theory of human nature, and a belief in certain political, economic, social, and religious arrangements. According to the individualist, all values are human-centred, the individual is of supreme importance, and all individuals are morally equal. Individualism places great value on self-reliance, on privacy, and on mutual respect. Negatively, it embraces opposition to authority and to all manner of controls over the individual, especially when exercised by the state. As a theory of human nature, individualism holds that the interests of the normal adult are best served by allowing him maximum freedom and responsibility for choosing his objectives and the means for obtaining them.

The individual is most important, and all individuals are equal. That shows us the bond between me-first individualism and collective conformity: the latter exists to support the former, because without it, individualists would be seen as parasites at best and criminals at worst.

Later on, the idea of Marxist collectivism emerged which formalized this link by revealing that most individuals conform, therefore a society based around groups enabled this conformity to exist without threatening anyone:

Marx thus conceived of human nature as social and mutable, rather than “natural” and fixed, and rejected the notion of “abstract” individuals considered in isolation of the social relations in which they are embedded. In fact, the idea of isolated, individual human beings is itself the product of a particular historical context. Rational choice and game theory, however, rest upon just the liberal model of “man” that Marx rejected. In this model, each person is assumed to be an immutable, isolated (atomistic), and self-interested calculator whose rationality is defined instrumentally. As with their respective ontological commitments, each of these contradictory conceptions of “man” forms part of the irrefutable “hard-core” of a distinct research tradition, and thus cannot be altered without stepping outside of that tradition. How, if at all, these two incompatible conceptions of human nature can be fused is thus a problem that must, at the least, be addressed by rational choice Marxists.

With the Marxist method, people could be even more individualistic. Instead of making choices, they could simply blame external influences, and demand that civilization came up with the right external environment to let the individual thrive without making choices at all.

This allowed the individualist more time to focus on his internal desires, his own wandering thought process, and a refusal to change his thinking based on new input; society would do it for him, and he could exist as a fully solipsistic atomized being without having to interact much.

In this way, the history of civilization decay is one of democratization, or gradually expanding the franchise of rights. At first people had the right to be left alone; then, they had the right to pursue their desires in defiance of social or natural order; finally, they had the right to stop thinking about reality entirely.

This rejects the naturalist idea, which is that organisms make individual choices based on their abilities to respond to their environment, to which they adapt as best as possible since most of them desire survival. We have now seen Darwinian adaptation demonstrated in the wild:

They found that finches with the beak traits typical of each species lived the longest, whereas those that deviated from the typical traits had lower survival. In short, the traits of each species correspond to fitness peaks that can be likened to mountains on a topographic map separated from other mountains by valleys of lower fitness.

“Biological species are diverse in their shape and functions mainly because individual traits, such as beaks, are selected by the environment in which the species are found,” said lead author Marc-Olivier Beausoleil, a doctoral researcher at McGill University, supervised by Professor Rowan Barrett.

As a result, “the diversity of life is a product of the radiation of species to specialize on different environments; in the case of Darwin’s finches, those environments are different food types,” adds Professor Andrew Hendry, who has been a part of the project for more than 20 years.

The differences between us as groups and individuals are differences of adaptation. That which exists from a need to be realist develops a different sort of brain than those who want solely to be social; that which wants a rising society develops different abilities than those who want less society and more solipsism.

The smarter among us often express an individualistic desire to simply be left alone. They believe anarchy can work because they overestimate the abilities of those around them. As it turns out, smarter people find most tasks easy, and therefore assumes others can do them just as well as the smarter people can.

This causes the more intelligent to view others not as less competent, but as more lazy, because the competent tend to view themselves as unexceptional because so many tasks are easy for them:

In Kruger and Dunning’s (1999) studies, the top 25% tended to think that their skills lay in the 70th to 75th percentile, although their performances fell roughly in the 87th percentile. Kruger and Dunning suggested that this underestimation stems from a different source — because top performers find the tests they confront to be easy, they mistakenly assume that their peers find the tests to be equally easy. As such, their own performances seem unexceptional.

If you wonder why so many people are seduced by individualism, this is the answer. The dumber choose individualism because they are oblivious to anything but their minds, being unaware of how limited their minds are because they cannot understand anything beyond their minds. The smarter assume that everyone else is smart.

In this way, human societies slide into oblivion because people deny the hierarchy of ability and needs. They project their own mental state onto everyone else — this is also a symptom of solipsism, the parent philosophy or religion of individualists — and therefore assume the world works just like them, thus individualism is morally good.

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