Monday, March 30, 2009

Individualism And Collectivism continued

I understand that there is much concern in some circles about how to "teach" or understand altruism. Evolutionary science has left little alternative because of the belief that we are little more than animals.

Some suppose that since we are only animals, then, we must be taught the "proper" way of bahaving, such as in civilized societies. Thus, understanding human behavior mostly through actions within society, rather than the motivational, reasoned, or innate nature of the human person. The concern is for "peace" and a civilizing of behavior. Culture and its social structures are the "defining force" for these.

I find that as I am reading through and thinking about my faith, that there are many writers, thinkers and philosophers that have lived within "communist" regimes and usually, these people, knowing truely what communism does to the human person, are opposed to "collectivism".

Not only has there been human experience that has borne out the "dangers" of collectivism, there have been studies done on human temperament that opposes such divisions. These understandings have understood the individual within society and the individual's relationship within as a temperament distinction. Four "types"; Hierarchy vs. Horozonal and Inividualistic vs. Communal have been identified and the combinations "determine" the person's way of viewing and acting within the group. I found this interesting. This is not deterministic, but might be limited within religious communities, as these communities affirm communal behavior.

Why do we in the West ponder such things, as collectivist "States", when there have been many voices that have carried the warnings of what collectivism "costs"? Maybe those who hold the reins of power are those who have the control and then, of course, these won't be concerned, for they will not suffer under anyone's "rule". These kinds of rulers are not altruistic because of their attitudes toward those 'under them". And they justify their behavior with collectivistic terms such as "function" and "role" in society. The labelling of another's "role" or "function" has already "determined" another's life, and development and it was "their determination", their "wisdom" that limited others in attaining "another role or function". I believe that this is immoral, because each individual is a person and has identity, and is a developmental being, not to be defined by the "group" alone!

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