By Zia Bharucha
We are born as individuals but we are also simultaneously incorporated into a collective family unit. Society seems to be struggling with these concepts and coercing us more and more into the collective mindset which seems to be lesser and lesser interested in empowering the individual.
When i walk around in nature, I notice signs everywhere, to see individuality within the collective. Every blade of grass, makes up a lawn, every drop of water flows into the larger river, every leaf comes together to make up a bush, it reminds me that we are always first and foremost created to be individuals, with special gifts and talents, that then needs to flow into helping the collective. When this happens both the individual and the collective benefit.
Sadly we are also witnessing the freedoms of the collective being placed ahead of the freedoms of the individual. Everyone’s needs have to be accommodated for before we can even begin to voice an opinion on practically any subject. How can any individual think freely and express themselves at all?
Every freedom comes with some level of responsibility. Every child knows that with each new freedom received, a new responsibility arrives with it. This should always be kept in mind. Abusing freedoms given shows the inability to grasp their value, and ends up hurting not just the individual but through them, society at large.
We have gone from one extreme to another. Decade after decade, groups of individuals have abused the freedoms given, and because of those abuses we are told, freedoms for the rest of society need to be realigned for the world of today. So slowly but surely one by one, our freedoms are being curtailed.
Individualism is the new groupism. We are being shown that power does dominate in different divisive groups, as they can strong-arm their way to their goals. There is one for everyone. You can choose one or more based on your likes, whether it be political, social, religious, sexual or otherwise.
I am of another belief, I believe the power of the individual today is underestimated. Most people are made to feel weak, alone, and powerless, once weakened, they are manoeuvred into the collective mindset. Any individual has the power to transform this world for the better or the worse. It is our god given, freedom to choose.
We have many examples from history that exemplify the individualistic mindset, yet changed the collective. There are examples of both, change for the good of humanity and change for the destruction of humanity.
Individuals change history. If you think, I am one person, what can i do? Think again, about all the individuals that changed this world, for the better, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Einstein, they were all individuals that stirred the collective, some to great movements and others to a better understanding of our world. It always starts from one, one person, one vision, one goal, and then flows into the collective, which can greatly benefit from this one person, and the impact they leave for us to carry forward.
Freedom levels in different countries differs greatly. Some cultures having been through long periods of oppression better understand the gifts freedom offers, however not free from consequence. How these gifts are utilised by individuals within a society, allows us to gauge the level of responsibility we are willing to accept, individually and collectively.
©2018 Zia Bharucha
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