Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Collectivist Individualism

             Collectivist Individualism

             Elsewhere on this blog I have called into question the existence of money. I call this philosophy ‘aplutism’; it calls money an illusion. Any money system’s reality is at best social; money’s value is determined by a market, which is by definition transpersonal. Therefore there is no such thing as “my” money system; it is by definition “ours”.

             Therefore money is collectivist! It has to be, otherwise it wouldn’t be fungible. The same goes for language. Words have to have shared meanings, or they have no meanings at all. Or take Reason; there is certainly no such thing as “my” rationality, distinct from “ours”. If anyone has Reason, then Reason is the common property of all mankind.

             (Once Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes, was told to answer a test question “in your own words”. A loophole! So he answered in gibberish.)

             A curious political paradox emerges. Money, speech and Reason are the gods of libertarian individualism, but they’re also as collectivist as the fire department! Money, speech, reason and much else (for instance the Rule of Law) is collective by nature. We all have rule of law or none of us do. In such a situation the only rational policy is to build government relating to such things on collective principles.

             The money that you make is yours; but it is denominated in terms that are ours. Your speech is free, you may say whatever you like, but you’d  better use English, and not some private language of your own, if you wish to be understood. You have your individual rights under the law; but the law is a creature of the State. And so on.

             The individual and the collective are interdependent; they only make sense in terms of each other. Yin and Yang.

             The paradox works in the other direction as well. Every collectivist movement ends up being run by a powerful individual, usually an alpha male. The army needs a general, the church needs a priest, the commune needs a manager.

             The human dilemma remains; we are individual but social. Monty Python phrased the paradox in this passage from their “Life of Brian”:
             Brian to crowd: “I mean, you’re all individuals!”
             Crowd: “YES, WE’RE ALL INDIVIDUALS!”
             Lone man in crowd: “I’m not!”

the illusion of the individual Nathaniel

No comments:

Post a Comment