The attempt to destroy the individual
Monday, May 27, 2013
“What is finished is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it. It’s the individual that’s finished. It’s the single, solitary human being that’s finished. It’s every single one of you out there that’s finished. Because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. It’s a nation of some two hundred odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods.” — Howard Beale, in Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 film, Network
But that was only a movie. Who cares about that? You go into a theater, sit there in the dark for a couple of hours, walk out, and think about something else.
For several years now, I’ve been writing about the decline of the individual. The wipeout.
Every time I write an article on this subject, I receive suggestions. I should go back and re-read Marx. I need to understand the difference between “communal, communitarian, community, communist.” I should research worker-owned businesses. What about trans-substantial transpersonal sub-brain algorithmic psychology? How about the pygmies? Ego? Superego? Id?
I appreciate these and other remarks, but I’m talking about the individual, about Self, beyond any construct, beyond citizenship, beyond membership, beyond sociology or anthropology or archeology.
The individual is enshrined in various political documents, but his rights don’t originate there. Neither does courage nor imagination.