I am sure that you have all heard the popular and incredibly chic phrase, “I am simply an autonomous complex structure of biology expressing my own thoughts, my own desires, and my own freedoms. I am an individual; free to do what I want, when I want, and how I want. Please do not enter the personal twenty-one inch stratosphere bubble of me….because it’s mine.” Oh…you haven’t heard this incredibly popular phrase before? Well, maybe that is because I just spent the sum total of all my intellectual powers crafting what is sure to become a popular and incredibly chic phrase. Or not. It is a sexy idea though isn’t it? In actuality, the vast majority of us subscribe to this idea that individuality is the most important attribute that any human can posses. The great traditions of philosophy, world religion, and humanism, have jumped in bed together, made out, and produced the most individualistic (read here: lonely) culture that mankind has ever seen. Your mom, your future spouse, your mailman, the cashier at the checkout (or the cashier you check out), your neighbor, your leaders, your professors, and that weird nut-job you see most days in the mirror have all felt the impact of the lonely and individualistic culture of now.
For years, anthropologists, linguists, and archeologists have wondered in awe at the supposed simultaneous development of great empires and civilizations around the planet that rose up, matured, got sick, died, and left artifacts and ancient clues to the nature of these peoples. Most interestingly is the fact that there is theory based on new* archeological findings that place ancient tools and ideas (such as language) in geographical places that they should not be. The implication? Ancient peoples migrated, traveled, and shared ideas across cultural lines that ultimently led to the evolution, development, growth, and sometimes destruction of the respective civilizations. In our typical self-centered fashion, we eagerly and egotistically consider our generation to be the first in the age of globalization, the universal people, and the global village. Fact is that people groups, since the beginning of civilizations, have always inspired other people groups around the world – we are just now aware of it. But really….who cares.
Well I do. In fact, all of us have been impacted by the thoughts, actions, values, and ideologies of other people. There is no one who can say they exist without outside influence. Yet, the thought remains that individualism is the highest of all human attributes. Why? Because we are as selfish as a daycare full of two year olds, as greedy as overfed boxing day shoppers, and as prideful as any gangster rapper on any given radio station. We just like ourselves so much.
Individualism thrives on the belief that the primary importance of the individual is the "virtues of self-reliance" and personal independence. The virtues of self hey? Interesting. That sounds a lot like saying, “the cooler part of hell” or “coffee is good even when it is burnt.” Where did we ever get this idea that being the individual was good? I know it wasn’t from God’s word the Bible or from the Holy Spirit teaching us. I do know that the Bible has a lot to say about selfish ambitions, pride, and greed though.
Ok – how is that for an incomplete thought – anyone want to add to this or finish it? Seriously.