Culture (Individuals Are Cooler)

Estimated read time (minus contemplative pauses): 3 min.

I found these notes I made a few months ago. They’re about the idea of “culture” (I’m against it). There’s no way I have time to expand on them, nor the resources, so I figured I’d put them out there and see if anyone has some additional ideas, insights, readings etc… I remember almost nothing of the little philosophy I studied way back when, so who knows what/whom I’m watering down here. Also, I don’t go into the idea of being “cultured” (I’m against that too), but it’s all related… also, by posting this here and confirming my openness to response/input, I don’t contradict myself (though I do love a good self-contradiction):

  • There is no pure culture, and perhaps never has been. The current idea of culture is tantamount to stereotyping. It simplifies and demeans the individuals of a society (I differentiate between culture as racial/ethnic/geographic categorization and Culture as a collection of aesthetic leanings/morals/habits/life styles; in other words, the latter which is generally presumed based on the former).

  • All significant advances in a culture are made not by a committee nor by the group. They are always the result of the singularly-minded vision of a strongly motivated individual. That individual usually starts out being rejected. By the time the group gets a hold of it, it is no longer unique.

  • There is way too much emphasis on the group, on community, on collective intelligence. While there is undoubtedly great advantage to collaborating with others on certain kinds of ideas, the seeds of the best ideas seem to always be best nurtured in the privacy of individuality. And the kind of unique ideas that introduce great innovation tend to come from the culturing of individuality. Children should be encouraged to be themselves as uniquely and individually as they can, not to be like the group. Besides, collaboration is best done in small groups. Not within the scope of a greater group, much less a community. And even if some people choose to collaborate – or truly work best that way, regardless of what kind of idea they are working on – there are those who thrive working alone for the better part of a project. That should be respected.

  • In an ideal world, just as there would be peaceful anarchy, there would be no countries, no cities, no neighborhoods, except for the purposes of geographical navigation. I would even go so far as to say that the idea of family shouldn’t exist, except for the purpose of promoting a vast and varied gene-pool.

  • Anything that subscribes groups of people to ostensibly the same exact routines and beliefs is not good for the flourishing of the individual (e.g., organized religion).

  • All of this is true except in one very important sense: without the idea of the collective group, is it possible to have the idea of the individual? In other words, if everyone is treated as an individual, does everyone become the same, and the idea of the individual disappears, wherein in a world of collectives, the individually minded person stands out in sharp relief? Or is there something in some of our natures, something that makes us want to stand out, and the definition of individuality would remain the same, but would be much more drastic when compared to today’s definition of the word? Or would the most genuinely, honestly individual people (that is, those who aren’t contriving themselves for the sake of being intentionally weird) be exactly the same no matter what? Yes, I say. Definitely. The true individual tries to be neither weird nor average nor normal nor above average. The true individual simply is.

For example: I start out here by referring to the “current idea” of “culture”. That “current idea” refers to the way a large collection of individuals define the idea of “culture”. If one seeks to change that idea (which is often just what the visionary seeks to do), then one is subscribing to that very idea of culture. The way around this is to view culture as a series of layers of interaction between individuals and small collections of individuals. A new idea of culture can exist, but human nature is far from being able to allow it.


Enjoy or find this post useful? Please consider pitching in a dollar or three to help me do a better job of populating this website with worthwhile words and music. Let me know what you'd like to see more of while you're at it. Transaction handled by PayPal.

Further Reading

One Reply to “Culture (Individuals Are Cooler)”

  1. Great post. I keep thinking of the idea: Tat Tvam Asi, or “you are that” which implies that the idea of the individual is a construct of the ego and that separation is an illusion that disappears with the dissolution of the ego. So, there is no culture nor individual only the all and we are all a part of the all and the infinite.

    I’m just saying.

Share your thoughts: