Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Individualism

A recent Big Think article quoting a July 2017 international psychological study on Individualism confirmed my earlier beliefs: “Individualism is thought to be on the rise in Western countries, but new research suggests that increasing individualism may actually be a global phenomenon”.

The reasoning is surprisingly easy to follow: “increasing socioeconomic development (LO: wealth) is an especially strong predictor of increasing individualistic practices and values in a country over time.” Sources: APS, BT, SAGE journals, Science Daily.

After some reflection, I realised that this concept of Individualism connects various of my earlier blogs: the 7 Belief systems, Faith vs Religion, Liberalism, selfless vs selfish Love, and even the astrological Age of Pisces and Age of Aquarius. The diagram below reflects this interconnectedness and highlights collisions between competing concepts.

The main change in society is from collective duties towards individual rights

This change is rooted in our (still developing) view on freedom and its related concept of Liberalism. 

To date, Liberalism has shown 4 main phases: (1) philosophical view on freedom for (certain) humans, (2) economic view on free markets, (3) political view on the rights of citizens versus the State, and (4) a personal libertarian view on freedom and the right to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

The Western choice for individual freedom and rights (Liberalism) conflicts with the collective views in other territories, like the Arab world (Islam), Asia (Buddhism, Hinduism), and (obviously also) countries with authoritarian leadership.

These collisions between competing concepts (eg, Islam vs Liberalism) affect all 3 dimensions of the 7 Belief systems: Love (from selfless to selfish), Knowledge (Philosophy, Science, the Truth) and Power (Money, Politics, Religion). This will make these conflicts look opaque.

The migration from collective duties to individual rights is like the only direction of time: forward. One must, however, never forget that a pendulum always returns to its previous position. Both concepts (ie, collectivism, individualism) are unsustainable in their extremes.

Individualism requires shared practices and values in order to be stronger than collective power. The “increasing individualistic practices and values” already indicate a future swing of the pendulum.

All by Myself (1975) by Eric Carmen – artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

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