Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Age of the Individual

The root meeting of “individual,” is indivisible -- or that which is whole, and not divided into the many fragments and compartments of existence, apart from every other, but rather, a part of every other, both within and without -- which implies completeness and integrity, and means to be one, and not many contradictory parts struggling to overcome one another. That is the inevitable result of slicing and dicing life into many different pieces of unconnected experience and knowledge -- rather than integrating the whole (individual) in everything one does, to maintain the integrity of that individual. Living in that fragmented (compartmentalized) way, caused many to report (or be unaware), that every part of their existence seemed to contradict every other part of their being, and so it seemed that the more one did, the more remained to be done, or became apparent.

Naturally, that leads one to ponder,"W hy should I do anything at all, what is the use, if the more I do, the more needs to be done -- without end," leaving one even less fulfilled than one began on that quest to fulfillment. Obviously, one is not on the right path -- if that feeling is true, and one has to question if there are any other ways of being and doing -- until the right question no longer needs to be asked -- because it was the right question. But how quickly we forget -- as well we should, to free the mind to move on to the unanswered questions.

The “collective” person -- is only a part of a whole, taught to believe they are virtually nothing except for the collective (group) to give them meaning and identity, thinking he cannot be complete in himself, which is to be an individual thinking for himself. Such people cannot be right in themselves -- but only in conformity to a group, and rightness is determined by their conformity to those norms -- rather than the larger whole of all existence. That group is apart, from everything else, and not a part, of everything else -- and seeks to dominate everything else to its exclusive benefit in that primitive and animal sense of purpose, as though that too was humankind's only purpose and reason for being.

That worldview is to see everything in isolation, as well as in contradiction and opposition to everything else -- which is not the way the world is. The world really is the working together of all things as a greater, coherent whole -- and the isolated and alienated few that resist, are invariably overwhelmed and extinguished, because they do not understand the greater flow of these developments, and all that it is telling us is the right action at any time.

But that doesn’t mean that one should just go along with the group-think -- but see beyond it to the total content of all the information. Then everything seems to make sense and have a unity, and unifying purpose. This is the original purpose of understanding -- to see the universe in everything -- and not to slice and dice it beyond recognition into the tiny parts that don’t add up to any whole, and anything living. That was the unfortunate consequence of much knowledge and specialization of a previous generation -- thinking the more things one knew, the more one knew.

The great advances have always been the reduction of unlimited and unmanageable complexity to a new level of greater simplicity, universality, integrity (integration), to produce individuals of greater wholeness and unified purpose and understanding. This is the new and greater meaning of individualism and not the old concept of those struggling to grow beyond their compartmentalized, alienated and isolated existences -- as though the world existed exclusively for their own benefit.


At June 09, 2007 12:55 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

With greater information, it is quite possible for a few individuals to possess an abundance of knowledge formerly possessed by only a few specialists. One might be tempted to say this is the age of the super-specialist -- but it is even more than that, in which the non-specialist possesses this base-level of understanding found previously only in the specialists of many years of dedicated study.

But instead of the many years of dedicated study, the leap to this greater level of proficiency is because of a self-selection of those with uncommon abilities gifted in that way at the right time it could be appreciated by others.

That was probably first apparent in world-class athletics, where there is less argument about performance -- even though it still can be questioned whether the event is the best measure of ability. The gifted obviously have abilities that transcend the criteria -- because nobody ever exhibited them before. Then, after it is witnessed for the first time, it can be incorporated into the event as the new standard of excellence, if that is considered a highly-desirable quality.

But in all probability, the first person exhibiting those qualities, are likely to evoke protests that they are violating all the rules -- because they are not bound by all the rules and limitations the average person is.

But those "violations" of the rules are likely to be at the top and not from the bottom. Nobody thought to prohibit them because nobody expected that anybody would. That changes the game -- for everybody, and so everybody else feels compelled to change the rules of the game -- to maintain their competitive advantage.

At June 09, 2007 1:43 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Insight is seeing a "problem" in a way that no longer sees it as a problem, and thereby eliminating it in this new vision.

For centuries, humankind has enshrined this idea that effort and expenditure is necessary to any achievement -- rather than that the achievement is the cessation of these efforts and expenditures -- or it results in merely obsessive-compulsive behaviors, rather than the accomplishment of anything purposeful or productive.

That worldview impacts the very health and condition of citizens of that society -- making it a difficult thing, rather than the easiest thing, and way to be.

In a rapidly changing world, the kind of learning that is valuable and useful, is not one that holds onto an old learning as persistently as possible but the mind that can discard the old learning for the new as easily and quickly as possible. The other is to have a fixed and rigid mind -- incapable of learning the new, no matter how impressively it learned the old.

The only thing that matters is how it learns the new -- and not how well it retains the old. If the old is valuable and useful, it can be learned as the new -- quickly and easily.

The many problems and difficulties of our lives are not in spite of our education but because of them -- obviously.

At June 11, 2007 10:23 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Generally the best indication of one's inner health, is their outer health, appearance and behaviors. That's usually how we can tell deranged people quickly -- at first glance: something doesn't look right, even if we are not consciously aware of what that is.

The "modern" (compartmentalized) view of life says nothing is related to anything else -- so that mental and emotional health has nothing to do with one's physical health, and vice versa. It is quite plausible in that worldview, for a grossly obese person to be in "excellent health," and vice versa. We just have to get over our prejudices in regarding people this way, etc., which is this totally preposterous "political correctness," of wishful thinking making anything they want to believe so.

But things don't happen that way; there has to be some grounding in reality. However, they may be so "used to" it from their "colleagues," that they have no idea what the truth of anything is anymore, and how one would go about testing these things independently from what they are told is the truth they are pressured to accept.

This was the mass media culture of the 20th century -- produced by the bureaucratic, authoritarian technocrats of that era. As far as I know, they've continued on that path to oblivion, obscurity and irrelevance by adopting the language of specialization (academic jargon) in preference of the more universal language embraced by 21st century leading edge thinkers/communicators.

That is the very hallmark of the 21st century personalities -- that are pretty much everything the 20th century personalities are not. They aren't the bureaucratic, mass minds of that paradigm -- of which only a few so far, have managed to make the leap. The rest will deteriorate to their dying days in the old paradigm of life and its limited/ fragmented/contradictory expectations.

The major disadvantage is the inevitability of "aging" as a consequence of choice(s) rather than an inevitable destiny of biology. That is important as we increasingly see viable life extending beyond the "retirement years." The logical next step is the extension of the retirement years to be integrated throughout life as one's leisure time.

Thus such individuals continue to "work" all their lives, while also choosing not to, as is more fitting to their whole life's objectives -- which was distinctive of the artist's or bohemian life of a previous age. That's the wholeness of life that was formerly denied to virtually everyone -- to play all the parts, or as many as they wanted to, in the course of their lives -- which is a dramatic shift from working tirelessly with the thought of doing nothing as the objective eventually in life.

Such a life doesn't make a lot of sense -- if the best thing one likes about their "job," is the time off they've earned from many years on it. This concept of "compensation" is to put up with the actual misery of enduring their jobs -- rather than the enjoyment of doing what is the actualization and fulfillment of their lives doing.

Such ideas seem wholly alien to these workers of a previous generation -- who were taught to learn to value their misery, as what they had to bring to the marketplace of ideas and labor.

The real work of each life, is to make the most of that life -- and not to trade it off for as much money as one can. That approach is sure to produce misery -- and in the future, that will no longer be regarded as a virtue.

It will properly and obviously be regarded as one having no idea of what life is about. That should be the whole purpose of education - -rather than producing the specialized, fragmented persons of the previous assembly-line culture of mass media and mass education (indoctrination).

At June 11, 2007 10:33 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Once people are clear on this "conditioning," they can go on to create their "own" lives, rather than just fulfilling the expectations and demands of others -- which of course, will always be unreasonable and insatiable projections of other people's needs.

The public communications are dominated by these messages -- of what everybody else needs to do to fulfill their needs, expectations and demands -- while feeling no sense of honoring anything to any others. They alone have an unlimited blank check on society and all its resources.

"From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs," as the cultural imperative, they've learned that the best strategy is to be the neediest, while the least able. Obviously, a society in which every one learns to play that game, must fail. It's never too late to learn things that make sense; that is the only thing that makes sense.

At June 11, 2007 10:49 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

When one is clear about all these self-contradictions that undermine all one's activities, behaviors and thinking, the effort required is minimal. Right understanding produces right action -- that all the wrong understanding cannot.

It is because of wrong understanding, that effort hopes to overcome. There is no "trying" to do the right thing; one either does it or doesn't -- and that is an indication of the integration and integrity of their being, and not just what they'd like everybody to think they are.


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