Individualism and the absolution of social responsibility

The human experience: peculiar and fraught with hypocrisy and the grasping of straws and other things. Us humans, the ‘wise’ ones whose hips grant us the ability to walk on two legs, and our ability to supposedly ‘make’ things. One moment, we assure ourselves and everyone around us that we are ‘this’ kind of person, and hypothetically drive a stake into the ground in declaration. Upon waking the next day, we reach for the vices of yesterday and are propelled by some undefined and existential need. We state we are one thing, and we act as another thing, a being driven by worldly forces beyond our control.

Today, I was attracted by a common sentiment: two proverbs of Western civilizations and self-help enigma. The first being that, one should ‘love thyself.’ Especially prior to external validation. There are many platitudes which one can repeat daily. The second being that of ‘individual responsibility,’ coddled in values brought forth polished by The Enlightenment of Western Europe, which include (so stated): Reason, Liberty or Freedom, Progress, Tolerance, Constitutional governments, and Separation of church and state. These are Enlightenment values of Western Europe, emerging in the 17th century.

It is arguable that Enlightenment values are good and just in some context, but individualism absolves interpersonal social responsibility.

It is arguable that Englightenment values are good and just in some context, but individualism absolves interpersonal responsibility. If it is most important to remain stalwart upon thy mountain-top, to love thyself, to ‘pull oneself up by the bootstraps,’ it relinquishes social responsibility to thy neighbor. Such platitudes and self-help philosophies of the 19th-21st century American new-age movements, release social responsibility to one’s neighbor, friend, or relative. At worst, it means money and employment status should relinquish guilt and suffering, but perpetuate social isolation.

When words of individual responsibility, individual love, and individual healing awake from the abyss of self-help platitudes, better to turn a questioning eye to those whom absolve themselves of social immersion and connective responsibility. While it is a wholesome ideal to improve oneself, it is also a shameful shirking of interpersonal social responsibility to blindly project Hellenistic platitudes of Stoicism. The questioning eye should not be condemned to the object, but rather, to the one forming the object in order to absolve their own social responsibility to another.

Just a thought. –C.L.Q.

2 thoughts on “Individualism and the absolution of social responsibility

  1. I agree.

    Hyperindividualism is a psychosis of modern capitalism. There is a total lack of shame brought on by the illusion that what we do and who we are and what we need to survive is separate from everyone and everything around us.

    Indeed, shame is meaningful and useful if it is linked to a sense of love and care for ourselves AND those around us. Striving not to let others down when it comes to truth, justice, and betterness for all is a good thing.

    Instead, this hyperindividualism tells us that we “should not care what other people think of us” and “not worry about other people’s expectations of you”.
    Sure, this sounds great on first glance (if you think you’re an island and can survive without others).

    These harmful messages are what happen when deep insights ate taken out of context. Accountability means recognizing how everything we do and think is connected to, and will impact, others.

    Thank you for your feeling, thinking, and writing.

  2. Dear Christina, Open invitation… finally found a place to live after 3.5 yrs of basically.. home’less’ness. Turns out to be a very prominent location and triple the size I need. But what it has in size it lacks in functionality . Rolling my sleeves up this week to make it livable. Thought of you immediately… offering you a vacation in New England if you wish & you are even welcome to stay. That being said I am so proud of you! Keep up your wonderful efforts of trying to understand. Back to my job. Hope to talk to/see you soon. Love- Shawn

    On Fri, Mar 19, 2021 at 6:09 AM end of the railway wrote:

    > clquig posted: ” The human experience: peculiar and fraught with hypocrisy > and the grasping of straws and other things. Us humans, the ‘wise’ ones > whose hips grant us the ability to walk on two legs, and our ability to > supposedly ‘make’ things. One moment, we assu” >

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