The Art of Individualism

 

Individualism is the act of thinking for yourself. It’s rooted in the most fundamental choice you’ve got: the choice to pay attention or not.

There are approximately one thousand arguments against individualism — and every single one of them, without exception, is predicated upon a fraudulent premise.

That human beings are, for instance, essentially social doesn’t negate or nullify our individualistic nature.

True individualism is not “rugged” — and next time you hear that, dismiss it immediately for exactly what it is: a canard, if ever there was one.

Karl Marx saw humanity as an “organic whole,” and all the neo-Marxists like to use that phrase, pointing out simultaneously the obvious fact that “most humans grow up in families and live in societies.” All of which misses the point and does not render individualism void:

Individualism does not mean atomism.

Neither does it mean that humans are anti-social by nature.

Nor does individualism necessarily embrace self-destructive hedonism, or moral subjectivism, or moral relativism, or fleeting range-of-the-moment pleasures that are too short-sighted to consider long-term consequences — or any of the other adversary ethics that nullify human happiness over a lifespan.

Ultimately, the thing that grounds individualism in fact is that no one person can think for another:

Only the individual reasons.

Only the individual thinks.

Thought is the fundamental act of human will.

When you distill it down to its essence, the decision to pay attention or not is the choice that determines all your other choices because it’s what determines your thoughts.

For this reason it’s not an exaggeration to say that the locus of free will is in the choice to pay attention or not.

We are each defined by our actions, but our actions are defined by our thoughts.

The choice to focus your attention is the spark that shapes and determines everything else because that choice is what shapes your thinking patterns.

Thinking is the uniquely human method of survival.

Thinking is reasoning.

Reasoning is the power of the human brain to form connections and make distinctions — which is to say: reason is the human capacity to discover the identity of things.

It is the process of learning the nature of reality. It is the process of learning what things are.

Recognizing this will take you far.

Reason is choice, said John Milton.

This insight — what it implies — is ultimately the thing that embeds individualism in fact.

Societies, communities, tribes, bands, and so forth — all are composed of individuals. But each of those individuals must perform alone, in the privacy of their own minds, the fundamental thing that shapes every subsequent thing:

Each individual must choose to focus the brain and pay attention, or not.

That is where the art of individualism begins, and ends.

It is the most essential choice you’ve got.

There are 22 comments.

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  1. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Too bad they aren’t teaching this in our universities anymore.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Ray: Neither does it mean that humans are anti-social by nature.

    Some humans are not anti-social by nature.

    • #2
  3. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Too bad they aren’t teaching this in our universities anymore.

    Were they at one time?

    (I was too cool for school, don’t you know.)

    • #3
  4. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ray: Neither does it mean that humans are anti-social by nature.

    Some humans are not anti-social by nature.

    You son-of-a-gun!

    • #4
  5. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Percival (View Comment):
    P.S. Thank you for dropping by and scaring the living daylights out of me.

    #TisTheSeason

     

    • #5
  6. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Ray (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    P.S. Thank you for dropping by and scaring the living daylights out of me.

    #TisTheSeason

    Try driving by the Clown Motel in Tonopah, NV at night with an iffy old Suburban.  It begs you to embrace being axe murdered.

    Our higher brains are not one solid functioning center but rather some insular inner circle of advisors , hopefully trusted.  Is something worth caring about or not?   How much effort for how much reward is often a following thought.

    I was busy today and saw your article.  I decided to pay attention and read it.  It was worth the effort.

    • #6
  7. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    DocJay (View Comment):
    I was busy today and saw your article. I decided to pay attention and read it. It was worth the effort.

    Thank you, friend!

    • #7
  8. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    DocJay (View Comment):
    I was busy today and saw your article. I decided to pay attention and read it. It was worth the effort.

    P.S. That article is actually a chapter out of my latest book, which just came out last week:

    101 Things to do Instead of College

    • #8
  9. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Ray (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    I was busy today and saw your article. I decided to pay attention and read it. It was worth the effort.

    P.S. That article is actually a chapter out of my latest book, which just came out last week:

    101 Things to do Instead of College

    I sincerely hope you can plug it shamelessly and often.  Which reminds me of a story ….

    • #9
  10. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Ray (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    I was busy today and saw your article. I decided to pay attention and read it. It was worth the effort.

    P.S. That article is actually a chapter out of my latest book, which just came out last week:

    101 Things to do Instead of College

    So which of the books or CDs  on your Amazon Page to you recommend first?

    • #10
  11. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Great post. So much concentrated truth.

    • #11
  12. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Ray (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    I was busy today and saw your article. I decided to pay attention and read it. It was worth the effort.

    P.S. That article is actually a chapter out of my latest book, which just came out last week:

    101 Things to do Instead of College

    So which of the books or CDs on your Amazon Page to you recommend first?

    I’m on Chapter 23 of The Woman Who Made a Pact With the Devil and I love it.

    • #12
  13. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I’m on Chapter 23 of The Woman Who Made a Pact With the Devil and I love it.

    I know I speak for him when I say, the author loves you for saying so.

    Among other things…

    • #13
  14. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Mike H (View Comment):
    Great post. So much concentrated truth.

    Thank you, friend! Thank you very much indeed.

    • #14
  15. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):
    So which of the books or CDs on your Amazon Page to you recommend first?

    I recommend The Woman who Made a Pact with the Devil first and 101 Things to do Instead of College second.

    • #15
  16. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    DocJay (View Comment):
    I sincerely hope you can plug it shamelessly and often. Which reminds me of a story ….

    Plugging, shamelessly, story … sounds most penetrating, my friend.

    I can’t wait to read it.

    • #16
  17. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Ray (View Comment):

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):
    So which of the books or CDs on your Amazon Page to you recommend first?

    I recommend The Woman who Made a Pact with the Devil first and 101 Things to do Instead of College second.

    As The Author already knows, I sent a copy of 101 Things to Do Instead of College to my daughter, even though she’s already in college, because it has great life advice.

    • #17
  18. Thomas Anger Member
    Thomas Anger
    @

    https://politicsandprosperity.com/2016/07/27/individualism-society-and-liberty/

    • #18
  19. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I sent a copy of 101 Things to Do Instead of College to my daughter, even though she’s already in college, because it has great life advice.

    For which the author is eternally grateful.

    Mmmmwwuh!

    • #19
  20. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Thomas Anger (View Comment):
    https://politicsandprosperity.com/2016/07/27/individualism-society-and-liberty/

    Thank you for the article, sir. I don’t agree with its premise — family should replace the individual — but I thought it a well-written and interesting read.

    Thank you for dropping by.

    • #20
  21. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Thomas Anger (View Comment):
    https://politicsandprosperity.com/2016/07/27/individualism-society-and-liberty/

    Nice post. Sadly lots of truth there as well.

    • #21
  22. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    Ooops .  Left  this under the wrong post :)

    • #22

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