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Community vs. the Individual

LogicalLunatic
Posts: 1,633
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7/5/2014 5:13:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Does a society consist of every individual member of that group, or is it what results from the unity of the many people within the community?
This may seem like a stupid question, but its actually more important than you think. Allow me to explain:

Let's take the Borg, a fictional race from Star Trek. Among the Borg, the Borg Society itself is what is most important. The combination of every individual Borg within the Collective is not considered as important as the Borg Collective itself. And the Borg Collective is a maximally efficient machine. The ascension of the Collective comes at the cost of each individual within the Collective, as the Individual is part of the machine and not what the machine was designed to benefit.
Choice A: Community>Individual(s)
Gain: Ascension and advancement of the Community and its objective(s)
Cost: The individual's freedoms

Then, there are societies where the Individuals triumph over the Community. Each person is not a working instrument in the machine; rather, the machine's allegiance is towards the Individuals. There are disadvantages to this system. For instance, individuality means that there will always be deviants within the system. Also, this may impede the society's ability to move towards an ideal set of goals. However, there is the benefit of the protection of the Individual and his/her freedom.
Choice B: Community<Individual(s)
Gain: The Individual's Freedoms
Cost: Ascension and advancement of the Community and its objective(s)

If the Individual's life is ultimately meaningless, then the Community is more important. If the Individual's life is ultimately not meaningless, the the Individual(s) is more important.

The Federal Government is growing more and more intrusive in our lives. It is, effectively, trying to make us more of pieces of the machine than individuals whose importance comes separate from the Community's will. I am not necessarily saying that there will be a Hive Mind anytime soon, just to be clear. However, what I AM trying to say is that this question will become increasingly important in coming years, and by not taking a side and standing up for our convictions we are unwittingly choosing a side
So what this question ultimately is is a breakdown of Authority vs. Liberty.

Now, there must not be too much Liberty, otherwise there is no order, and nothing can be accomplished or maintained. Anarchy is Liberty's extreme.
Likewise, I believe that there must not be too much authority, because I believe that the Government was meant for the Individual(s) and not the other way around.

What is more important to you, the Individual or the Community?
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rross
Posts: 2,772
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7/6/2014 7:15:58 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
This idea about individuals who have internal dispositions that are largely unaffected by social context is pretty much unique to the US and culturally related countries. It's a bizarre idea and not supported by evidence about how people are and how we think.

There are so many examples. Off the top of my head, "fundamental attribution error" has been shown to be exclusive to western societies.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

And from a different angle entirely, in cognitive science, people are talking about transactional memory and transactional knowledge. This is based on the observation that people are better at remembering where info is stored than the information itself. Also, if we know we have access to an expert in a particular topic, we are less likely to remember info on that topic. In short, we don't function as independent, separate cognitive units.