Individualism Vs. The Individual

 Choice seems to be the domain of the individual, and the form of his expression. We often think that groups, like Congress or the State or the Board of Directors/Executives make choices, but this is an illusion, for at the moment of “choice,” these entities are already committed to one action or another. What has led them to that commitment were largely the stakeholders. The argument about who the stakeholder should be or who they actually are is not relevant to the point that the choices themselves did not belong to the entities we seem to hold responsible. Indeed, it appears to me that the choice as a framework is an individual affair.

What we have to do is create a direct path from individual consciousness to individual choice – and in order to do that, we must first displace what is convenient or comfortable. To keep on keeping on can be a choice, but it rarely is one; it is usually the absence of choice.  When we do choose to keep on doing what we have been doing, by virtue of having chosen it, it is not because it is comfortable or easy. Rather, it is because it is what we want. Clarifying this, there are certainly some things we can choose which are convenient, but we do not choose them for that reason.

Secondly, we must have ethics. By ethics, I do not mean morals, but rather codes of practice, such as the work ethic. It is not enough to be intelligent, it is in fact nothing to be intelligent – what is inherent is only relevant insofar as it should be considered as a limiter on choice. If one cannot see, one cannot choose to be a race car driver. The individual’s disposition constrains his choices; his disposition in and of itself is not his expression, it is the fact of him. The fact of oneself is certainly fascinating, but it is not a choice.

The combination of strong ethic and disregard for convenience will almost certainly create tension between the individual and the systems he inhabits. This tension is productive, it will reveal the difference between what the individual wants and what constitutes his submission to larger systems.

By jtp

Joanna Tova Price has a lot of heart.

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