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The Individualist Socialist

Updated on August 31, 2013

Individuals In Society

John Donne
John Donne
F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Michael Moore
Michael Moore
Michio Kaku
Michio Kaku
Erwin Schrodinger
Erwin Schrodinger
Marjoe Gortner
Marjoe Gortner
Marjoe Gortner
Marjoe Gortner

So the individual is a social being, responsible to others, and therefore a socialist.

"No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main." -- John Donne1

Why try to wedge a crowbar between groups of "individualists" and groups of "socialists"? (Maybe a fulcrum? Would that be better?)

I am a democratic republican.
I am a republican democrat.
I am a social individualist.
I am an individual socialist.

If you can hold opposing views simultaneously, isn’t that an indicator of intelligence? "The test of a first class mind is the ability to hold two opposing views in the head at the same time and still retain the ability to function." – F. Scott Fitzgerald 2

Isn’t it then also a sign of leadership if you can merge opposing views into a pragmatic approach that benefits the greatest number of people, helping them contribute to society and work for the common good while maintaining their individuality? Helping them evolve !

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, the word evolve means to develop or achieve gradually; to work (something) out; devise, and to develop (a characteristic) by evolutionary processes. It’s derived from the Latin volvere which means "to unroll."

Don’t we all want to evolve, to be "better"? We want, don’t we, to improve, or to improve the lives of our children or our children’s children?

So the greater number of divergent views that you as an individual can understand and learn from, the better off you are, and will be. You will be healthier. And so goes the health of our society. Individualism and socialism together – variant diverse views converging to form pragmatic goals and aspirations. What are more worthy goals than the health of individuals and by extension societies and/or civilizations?

How do we reconcile the goals of the individual versus the goals of society? The Golden Rule. The Rule of Law. Our American Freedom depends on the rule of law. Not of king, not of dictator, not of religion, and not of money… Money?

Filmmaker Michael Moore3 mistakenly calls capitalism "evil." However, the tyranny of money is a difficult beast. Often, we confuse individualism with amoral capitalism. When executives reduce individuals to numbers and manipulate those numbers for grotesque personal wealth, they gas millions of individuals with invisible fumes spewing from their gold-plated Lear jets. What’s next? Amoral capitalism in space – leaving behind a slime clogged planet while "they" populate and rape a new planet, only the best of the best individuals, the richest of the richest, wealthiest of wealthiest, money of money. While the remaining, the poor, the lesser individuals are used, like our abused cattle, steak fit for kings.

Of course, this is a historical conflict – rich versus poor. But if we are to evolve into a "better" society, or civilization, then mustn’t we adapt as a society? Michio Kaku,4 professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York, describes class I, II, and III civilizations, each evolving and building upon the previous one.

This evolution can only occur through group effort. Since groups are comprised of individuals, then it must also occur through individual effort. Is there a difference?

Yes and no. Don’t confuse group effort with orgiastic group hugging (which can be fun). While "huggism" is essential, we cannot improve ourselves and our societies by adhering solely to that ism , as we cannot by adhering solely to Islam, or Christianity (or Mormonism, or Pentecostalism), or Judaism. Take a blender and shove in the ism! Create a breakfast drink! Crap out the waste! Stay healthy! Society depends on healthy individuals. Take opposing views and blend them, and/but don’t abandon the "opposite" view of classification and categorization and sorting and identifying and so on.

Am I an ism unto myself, in a box waiting for the hammer to fall, and release the poison? Presently, am I dead or alive? Or am I both dead and alive? Am I you, and you me? – I am? I am! Dead or alive! I am dead and alive! I am you and you are me! I hedge my bets but make firm decisions. I’m a cautious high risk-taker. I am democratic republican, republican democrat, social individualist, and individual socialist.

I try not to hurt others. Mostly, I hope I follow the rule of law, and the golden rule, but hopefully, I hope, not the rule of gold. (Maybe God, but isn’t God draped in glittery gold?) I want to work for the common good. I want to ask questions and try to find clear answers and ambiguous answers.

What can we learn from wave–particle duality (All objects exhibit at times a wave-like nature, and at other times a particle-like nature)?5 Is a beam of light a wavelength? Are we a zeitgeist society (as in "we’re on the same wavelength"), or are we a society of individual particles? Are we a group of duplicitous individualist capitalists? Is everything "true"? How is that? What can we learn from Schrodinger's Cat?6 Isn’t there only one Divine Truth?

"Glory gee to Besus!" -- Marjoe Gortner7


1 John Donne, Meditation XVII, English clergyman & poet, 1572 – 1631. "No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, American Novelist; his work includes The Great Gatsby, The Last Tycoon, and Flappers and Philosophers.

Michael Moore, filmmaker. Moore’s latest film Capatialism: A Love Story refers to or implies that capitalism is evil. His other films include Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Sicko.

Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York, whose theories about civilizations appear in many of his books and article, including his latest, Physics of the Impossible.

According to Wikipedia, wave–particle duality is the concept that all energy (and thus all matter) exhibits both wave -like and particle-like properties. (Some interpretations) explain this ostensible paradox as a fundamental property of the Universe, while alternative interpretations explain the duality as an emergent, second-order consequence of various limitations of the observer.

Basically what Schrodinger is saying is that because of the way the experiment is set up, the cat has a 50% chance of being alive, and a 50% chance of being dead. It is just as likely that the cat is alive as that it is dead, so Schrodinger said that until the box is opened, the cat is both alive and dead. This is obviously false, the cat cannot be both alive and dead at the same time. This problem is meant to illustrate a theory of quantum mechanics called "indeterminacy." Indeterminacy says that there can be more than one correct answer to a problem which physically can only have one answer. Schrodinger came up with this illustration to demonstrate that there was a problem with this theory of quantum mechanics. Windows to the Universe team. What is Schrodinger's Cat Paradox? Boulder, CO: © The Regents of the University of Michigan, Date of last modification for that page. Online. Available: October 29, 2009.

Marjoe Gortner, Famous Pentecostal Preacher. According to Wikipedia, Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner, generally known as Marjoe Gortner (born January 14, 1944 in Long Beach, California), is a former revivalist who first gained a certain fame in the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s when he became the youngest ordained preacher at the age of four, and then outright notoriety in the 1970s when he starred in an Oscar-winning, behind-the-scenes documentary about the lucrative business of Pentecostal preaching. The name "Marjoe" is a portmanteau of the names "Mary" and "Joseph."


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    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanks Rand. Love your relevant quotes. I've started a follow up on this a couple times, but must not be ready yet.

    • randslam profile image

      Rand Zacharias 7 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

      What a great rant about tolerance.

      Thanks, Jeff. Until we understand that differences are a good thing along with intelligent management of resources, instead of this, "Are you with me or against me?" attitude--our poor planet will not experience the rich Garden of Eden that we, thick-headed humans, could cultivate.

      It reminds me of an old prayer, "God, grant me more of a desire for understanding--than to be understood."

      If each of us desired to understand different points of view--wouldn't we come up with better solutions? Great hub, and it certainly could, and I'm sure will, be expanded upon.

      Thanks again, Rand.

    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanks, CBRandolph. This needs further exploring and I hope to write a follow up after I'm finished working on my current project...

    • CBRandolph profile image

      CBRandolph 8 years ago from Charleston, West Virginia

      A truly wonderful piece of writing.

    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanks oldenuf2nobetter and William. I think I did cram a lot into a few sentences... probabaly another hub on this topic is needed.

    • William R. Wilson profile image

      William R. Wilson 8 years ago from Knoxville, TN

      Keep em coming!

    • profile image

      oldenuf2nobetter 8 years ago

      Wow.That's a mouthful.I enjoyed reading it.That's going to take some time to digest.Another great hub Jeff,keep up the good work!

    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanks James. I appreciate the comment. The topic, I think, needs further exploration...

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      This is quite the interesting commentary. I enjoyed reading it.

    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Great caption! Thanks for sharing it.

    • Manly Man profile image

      Manly Man 8 years ago

      From a New Yorker cartoon: "What we need is Darwinian Socialism."