Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Nick_A wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:15 am You are describing exoteric Christianity...
No, I'm done.

Thanks for the chat.
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Arising_uk
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Immanuel Can wrote: Heh. :)

Look on this website, Nick. See who catches more flak than a Christian.
But IC you don't catch flak for being a Christian but for being an unchristian Christian.
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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am
RCSaunders wrote: Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:35 pm I do not agree that the, "attractiveness," is itself sinful.
Well, could I test that?

Do you think that when a gambler is attracted to the table, or an alcoholic to the bottle, that's good?
Of course you can test it, IC.

I believe the context is, "sin," not "good and bad." It is not good to be sick, it is not good to have desires to do what is self-destructive, but that does not make those physical or psychological conditions sinful. They are rather burdens one is afflicted with and must learn to bear or defeat. Pain tempts many people to indulge in drink or drugs. Pain is bad, but it's not sinful.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am Or when a pedophile is attracted to children, is that neutral? I suspect you'd say not. I think there is something fundamentally wrong in the disposition of someone who finds joy in hurting other people; and no matter how "attracted" he is to it, I don't think either of us would say that's a matter of indifference.
If there were no sexual desire at all, there would be no such temptations. Having studied the paraphilias in general, which are all variations of sexual desire driven by thoughts of fulfilling those desires in various ways we consider abnormal, so I regard rape and pedophilia paraphilias. All such desires are psychological problems. They are very bad and no one is indifferent to them. I see no evidence of sin in problems one is afflicted with.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am
It is not a sin to be tempted. It is only a sin to yield to temptation (desire) either in overt action (adultery) or in one's thinking (Mat. 5:28).
Is that so? Or is to be tempted one evidence of a sinful disposition, and to act on that attraction a second manifestation of sin? I would say it is.
I know you would. Which is fine with me. I'm only explaining why I wouldn't.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am
...wrong thinking must be chosen....
Hmmm...how can that be, though? How can someone who has no -- zero -- inclination to sin "choose" to do something toward which he has no attraction at all? It's surely evident that a man who is not attracted to the wrong things will have no inducement or likelihood whatsoever to take part in them. And what do you do with Christ's claim that a man who has called his brother "worthless" has already committed a sin, even if he never raises a hand against him? That's surely a sin of attitude.
I think you have misunderstood me. I referenced Matthew (It is not a sin to be tempted. It is only a sin to yield to temptation (desire) either in overt action (adultery) or in one's thinking (Mat. 5:28). First of all, having an idea about something sinful is not itself sinful. Before one can say, 'such'n'such' is sinful, they must first think 'such'n'such'. If one knows something is wrong to do, to do it, or to just imagine doing it (for the pleasure or satisfaction of that imagination) is a sin. But thoughts do no occur on their own. Thinking is an action which must be chosen. What one thinks must be chosen just much as what one does overtly. Before anyone can make a choice one must be conscious of what there is to choose or not. Before one can choose to hate his brother or lust after his neighbor's wife, he must first be aware of the fact he could hate his brother or lust after his neighbor's wife, but none of that awareness is sin, and cannot be sin until and unless he chooses to indulge one of those possible choices.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am
A "bent" or "inclination" toward a particular class of behavior (sin) is not free choice, but a kind of prejudiced choice.
No, I don't think this is true. "Free" does not mean "free of inclination." It simply means "able to chose one or the other -- good or evil -- in a given situation. And a person who is even strongly drawn to a bad decision, (like say, embezzlement he thinks he can hide) but who overcomes his inclination for the sake of doing the right thing, is he not a noble character? And was his freedom not the basis of his right choice? Indeed, if he had not been drawn to the wrong choice, what would be laudable about his restraint, in this case?
Since I will not accuse you of what you have not said, I can only address this be saying I'm assuming by "bent" or "inclination" what most Christians teach regarding the sinful nature, that ultimately it is not possible for a human being to live without sin. You seem to believe any proclivity for that which is sinful is itself a sinful temptation, I regard all desires as neutral temptations to sin. If one has a love and talent for music and learns a melody that he loves to perform, and subsequenlty discovers that melody was composed by another musician, he might be tempted to claim the music as his own. You would regard the desire to do that a sinful desire. I regard it as a temptation to do something that is only sin if actually acted on. After all, one cannot refuse to do what is wrong, until after he is tempted to do wrong, which you agree is laudable.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am In fact, we all seem to have our own special set of sinful inclinations, don't we?
You know I'm not going to agree to that.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am Maybe everyone shares some. The inclination to lie, or to omit the truth, is a pretty general temptation, for example.
Ah lying. It is not a sin to lie. It's a virtue when a lie protects the good against the evil. I am frequently silent about things I know, simply to maintain my own and other's privacy, so intentionally, "omit the truth," that would otherwise be a violation of other's or my own business. If a rapist comes into my house demanding to know where my daughter is, I will lie about it. When people go on vacation they sometimes set their lighting on timers and have their mail and newspaper delivery curtailed to deceive burglars into thinking they are home.

Knowing when to reveal the truth and when to hide it is a virtue. Deceit and lying are only sins when used to gain what is unearned and undeserved in wealth, reputation, or position, or to attempt to escape the consequences of or "cover up" one's wrong doings.

Biblical lies that were not sin: Jer. 39:24-27, Josh. 2:1-7 (Heb. 11:31), Judges 3:16-21, 4:17-21, I Sam. 16:1&2, I Sam. 21:10-15

We're not going to agree on this one, I'm afraid.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am
I think your question, "how is it that evil has any appeal at all?" assumes what is not true. The desire to do something evil is not a desire for evil itself or because it is evil. In most cases, the one who desires the evil thing does not even think it is evil.

Well, I'll give you this: someone can believe he is doing good and do evil. That's true. But it's not always. And you seem to consider this, for you only write "in most cases," not "always."

In quite a few cases, in fact, both the desire is known to be evil and the action associated with it is known to be evil. Surely it's evil to abuse the neighbour's children. But it's not healthy and neutral to sit in one's window and fantasize about abusing the neighbour's children, whether one eventually does it or not. Some things are just bad to want, and bad to do.
I've already addressed what I regard as the difference between, "bad," and sinful, and the choice to indulge some kinds of thoughts are just as sinful as overt sins. (There is actually a reason they are worse.)
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am I'm guessing we might (agree on what the heart means in the Bible). I'm aware of the difficulties in translating the "heart" concept directly into modern usage. ("Liver" or "bowels," originally it was.) I'm assuming that's what you're referring to, no?
No, I was referring to all the ways most Christians try to explain the heart, e.g. "the seat of the emotions," or an aspect of the soul. I think the Biblical meaning is quite clearly something else.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am
Have you Read Lewis' Miracles? I think it contains one of the best argument there is for volition against determinism.
I have. But it was a little while ago. To which of the essays in that volume are you alluding? I must revisit it.
You would ask. I'll have to go back to my copy. I think the argument spreads over more than one chapter. I'll let you know if my ancient copy doesn't fall apart.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am What else do you read, RC?
Most of the major Christian theologians, as well as other religious publications, most of the philosophers, science, electronics, chemistry, at least in the past, most of the classics, and most kinds of fiction, at least one book by every author we (my wife and I) run across, more if the author is worth reading, and still I feel I've only scratched the surface of what there is to read and learn, and I'm running out of time. I turned 79 today.

Enjoyed, as always!
Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:02 am
Nick_A wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:15 am You are describing exoteric Christianity...
No, I'm done.

Thanks for the chat.
You are done. Your goose is officially cooked. Life goes on.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

1930
"Many people think that the progress of the human race is based on experiences of an empirical, critical nature, but I say that true knowledge is to be had only through a philosophy of deduction. For it is intuition that improves the world, not just following the trodden path of thought. Intuition makes us look at unrelated facts and then think about them until they can all be brought under one law. To look for related facts means holding onto what one has instead of searching for new facts. Intuition is the father of new knowledge, while empiricism is nothing but an accumulation of old knowledge. Intuition, not intellect, is the ‘open sesame’ of yourself." -- Albert Einstein, in Einstein and the Poet – In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns (Branden Press, 1983, p. 16.), conversation March 4, 1930


These people will be scorned since they question the supremacy of the dialectic, the god of the modern progressive enchanted by all sorts of collectives. They are true individuals and capable of understanding the importance of reconciling science and religion for the future of our species.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

RCSaunders wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:45 am
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am
RCSaunders wrote: Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:35 pm I do not agree that the, "attractiveness," is itself sinful.
Well, could I test that?

Do you think that when a gambler is attracted to the table, or an alcoholic to the bottle, that's good?
Of course you can test it, IC....Pain is bad, but it's not sinful.
Pain's not, but what about the desire for addiction? What about attraction to violence, deceit, anger or to harmful sexual experiences? Can we really doubt that those things are desires that are morally bad, whether or not they are acted upon? And somebody whose mind was preoccupied with such desires, would we regard him as psychologically or morally well?

I'm thinking not.
I regard rape and pedophilia paraphilias. All such desires are psychological problems. They are very bad and no one is indifferent to them. I see no evidence of sin in problems one is afflicted with.

I think these expressions, the medicalization of sin, simply obscure the obvious problem: these are desires that are intrinsically bad. And worse still, they are the prerequisite to the actions they entail. So not only are they bad for the one experiencing them, but they are a sine qua non of the harm they cause others when acted out. They're sin in inception, and also make possible the execution of sin.
I know you would. Which is fine with me. I'm only explaining why I wouldn't.
I see. Fair enough. I don't mind hashing out the reasoning. It's useful.
I think you have misunderstood me. I referenced Matthew (It is not a sin to be tempted. It is only a sin to yield to temptation (desire) either in overt action (adultery) or in one's thinking (Mat. 5:28).
Oh, I see. So you're agreeing that there is such a thing as a sin of thought or a sin of intention, as well as a sin of action; you're just saying that you don't think the source of the thoughts or the actions is a feature intrinsic to the human character.

Have I got that right?

If so, I would ask where these thoughts, these preludes to action, originate, if not in the human character? If there is sin (or evil) in the world, and sin in people's thoughts and actions, from whence does this come?
I'm assuming by "bent" or "inclination" what most Christians teach regarding the sinful nature, that ultimately it is not possible for a human being to live without sin.

If "sin" is a problem of character, as well as of thought and action, then that would be true. And I think empirically, it's quite obvious that there's been but one sinless individual in history. Because I have never met a person who, when pressed, would not admit to various sins...even though they sometimes went on to excuse their actions by downgrading them as "white lies" or "the best of a bad thing," as "well-intended" or "necessary under the circumstances," sometimes.
You seem to believe any proclivity for that which is sinful is itself a sinful temptation, I regard all desires as neutral temptations to sin. If one has a love and talent for music and learns a melody that he loves to perform, and subsequenlty discovers that melody was composed by another musician, he might be tempted to claim the music as his own. You would regard the desire to do that a sinful desire.
Sure: it's a desire to commit a fraud.
I regard it as a temptation to do something that is only sin if actually acted on. After all, one cannot refuse to do what is wrong, until after he is tempted to do wrong, which you agree is laudable.
It is. However, the desire that led to the temptation is also a problem. I might be happy if my alcoholic uncle were not to drink when he could have; but I would also worry about the effects of my liquor cabinet on him, and his struggle would raise questions about a deep problem in his character that was persisting.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, people stand and say, "I'm Tom, and I'm an alcoholic. I haven't had a drink in six years..." Why "I am" an alcoholic? Because of their realism about what it means to have an addiction: it means you will never be able to stop the struggle, and will never be able to say, "I'm not at all susceptible." And ironically, that realism is the beginning of the road back: an alcoholic who believes he's beaten alcohol forever is more likely to drink again than someone who knows what he's capable of.

I think realism about sin is the same. We need not just to watch our actions, but also to be realistic about what our nature is -- that those actions don't arise from thin air, but from a kind of person who likes that sort of thing. This "bottle" will be our ever-present concern our whole lives; we must be realists about what we are personally capable of. It's only that sort of humility that can be the starting point for better things.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am In fact, we all seem to have our own special set of sinful inclinations, don't we?
You know I'm not going to agree to that.
Do I? I don't think I did. I've never met anyone who was free from impulses of which they were (rightly) ashamed, at times.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am Maybe everyone shares some. The inclination to lie, or to omit the truth, is a pretty general temptation, for example.
Ah lying. It is not a sin to lie.[/quote]
I think it is. And Biblically, it certainly is. It's only the truth that sets one free. Lies solve temporary problems, but poison the soul. They cause one to depart from reality, and then, to excuse it, to misrepresent oneself to oneself.
I am frequently silent about things I know, simply to maintain my own and other's privacy, so intentionally, "omit the truth," that would otherwise be a violation of other's or my own business.
This isn't lying. It's "not violating a confidence." While there is such a thing as a "lie of omission," obviously, there are Biblical injunctions against loose lips. Sometimes it's just best to say nothing, and it's not at all evil.
If a rapist comes into my house demanding to know where my daughter is, I will lie about it.
I'd find a more direct solution. Defending the defenceless is definitely a Biblical value.
When people go on vacation they sometimes set their lighting on timers and have their mail and newspaper delivery curtailed to deceive burglars into thinking they are home.
That's an interesting thought. There is a kind of deception in that.

Indeed they do. But I think that's rather a case of them just arranging not to provide malicious persons with information they can abuse; I don't think that's a case of lying.
Knowing when to reveal the truth and when to hide it is a virtue. Deceit and lying are only sins when used to gain what is unearned and undeserved in wealth, reputation, or position, or to attempt to escape the consequences of or "cover up" one's wrong doings.

I don't disagree with that. But I don't think "hiding the truth" amounts to lying, except in the sorts of cases you list. As I say, there is no Biblical injunction saying, "You must always reveal everything you know." In fact, there are injunctions to keep your words few, and be selective about what you share.

But it's always to be the truth.
Biblical lies that were not sin: Jer. 39:24-27, Josh. 2:1-7 (Heb. 11:31), Judges 3:16-21, 4:17-21, I Sam. 16:1&2, I Sam. 21:10-15
I think we have to be careful in judging these. It does not follow from the fact that a Biblical character did a thing that it was always the right thing to do, or the right way to do it. Think of David and Bathsheba, for example; that incident is recorded Biblically, and faithfully reported; but the associated conduct definitely not recommended. We are, in fact, told many things that people did historically that are not being offered as examples for us to emulate, but often pitfalls for us to avoid.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am No, I was referring to all the ways most Christians try to explain the heart, e.g. "the seat of the emotions," or an aspect of the soul. I think the Biblical meaning is quite clearly something else.
What were you thinking?
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am What else do you read, RC?
Most of the major Christian theologians, as well as other religious publications, most of the philosophers, science, electronics, chemistry, at least in the past, most of the classics, and most kinds of fiction, at least one book by every author we (my wife and I) run across, more if the author is worth reading, and still I feel I've only scratched the surface of what there is to read and learn, and I'm running out of time. I turned 79 today. [/quote]

That's an achievement. Happy birthday, RC. My uncle lived to 97, and my father's 94 now. Another man I know just turned 102, and is still sharp. People are doing better with age these days, it seems. At least, some are.

But you're right: one has to become more selective with one's reading as one ages. Reading time is precious, and time only flows one direction.
Enjoyed, as always!
Likewise, I'm sure.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

Nick_A wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:51 am You are done. Your goose is officially cooked. Life goes on.
Aw, come on now, Nick. I didn't say anything unkind to you. One doesn't have to agree with everyone else. We can still all be reasonable.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by f12hte »

Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:21 pm
f12hte wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:05 pm I am advocating for a collectivism wrought of love for one's fellow man.
I see that. And I would wish that you could get it.

If you're going to have a collective, you need a lot more than just a "loving impulse," because unguided by morality, that can go very wrong, and just end up sanctifying evil...

Now, we 'd have to admit that there was such a thing as a bad thought-to-be-objective moral standard. That would not help us create a good or safe collective. Objectivity in morality would not be enough, unless the objective moral standard to which the collective was committed was itself genuinely good.

So which one should we use?/quote]

Which moral standard do bees and ants use? Can they possibly achieve a successful commune without morals? How do they survive? It sounds like you don't believe that morals are relative. if I feel that it is wrong, then it is wrong for me. If you feel that the same action is right for you, then it is right for you. Experience teaches each person a different conception of what is right and what is wrong. When you establish a moral standard, congruent with the majority, you could be setting up a dictate to do evil for the minority. Laws from on high and moral standards enforced by authority don't work . Lawmakers want to do good, but their idea of good might be a bad for others.

So how did the bees do it? To me it seems like the ruthless hand of evolution killed off genetically individualistic branches, because the synergies of collectivism were required to survive in the prevailing environment. I believe that the same thing is bound to happen with humanity i.e. in an environment of scarce resources, collectivism uses the resources more efficiently and thus survives, while those individualistic types become genetic dead ends.

So how can mankind do it? Have we no choice but to wait for cruel evolution to kill off nonconformists? Can we begin to sway our civilization towards a more affable transition from individualism to collectivism? So do we go out and preach a new religion to the masses? No. Do we impose a moralistic standard on the masses? No. I see it happening in a manner similar to the Green Revolution. People see and recognize the threat and are driven to change themselves and their actions to overcome the threat.

Societies need to change to consider the type of world that they are leaving for their children, both the natural world and the world of human culture. You can change human culture by providing additional experiences (learning) to reveal where society is falling short on collectivism and tending towards individualism, and drawing attention to the problems inflicted upon a society by individualism. Not a revolutionary learning enforced by a legal code or moral imperative, but one which is evolutionary and socialized in by parents and care givers You can already see this happening in cultural dichotomies like the USA vs Japan. Who can doubt that Japanese culture emphasizes the good of the culture instead of promoting individualism, like in the USA. Why? Because resources have historically been limited by living on an island with a growing population. So how did the Japanese become more culturally minded? They were socialized into it. Not with laws and legal codes but because at some point, they were forced by nature to realize the wastefulness of individualism, and the synergies of collectivism.


f12hte wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:05 pmWe all just need to experience the documented benefits which accrue to the giver, in the practice of selfless living.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:21 pm But I'm afraid it's obvious that this is not really true.

In the first place, if I only "love" others for the "documented benefits that accrue to [me]," I am being selfish, really, not altruistic. I'm pretending to "love" others, while really only loving myself. My altruism is a fake. It's just an instrument I employ to get myself what I want -- my own happiness. But when being altruistic genuinely stands to upset my own self-interest and hurt my personal happiness, why should I persist in being altruistic beyond that point?

In the second place, there are so many situations in which altruism actually hurts me. A mother with a difficult child to raise, one who may never thank or repay her love." A clergyman whose wages don't nearly compensate for the emotional, psychological and spiritual burdens laid on him by the congregation. A soldier, who marches against a despotic enemy to protect the freedom of his nation, knowing he will probably end up dead in the effort. A teacher whose students are surly and thankless, and who leave and graduate without so much as a "thank you" for all his hard work. A policeman who tries to arrest a drug dealer, and is stabbed for his efforts to make a safe arrest instead of shooting the man. How are these to be told, "Don't worry -- the happiness you will get will amply repay your suffering."

Altruism is not fun. When it's really done, it's sacrifice, and often sacrifice with absolutely no prospect of reward or happiness in return. What incentive have we, then, to do it, if happiness is unavailable?
It's true, that I didn't adhere to the strict meaning of altruism. If we like doing something, then it can not be altruism and truly selfless. But thinking about the welfare of another before thinking of your own welfare happens all of the time, and you mentioned several instances where this happens. People are naturally social and mutual service is the glue which binds societies together. We can't comfortably exist by ourselves. We can not be happy without association with others of our species. So if people hear that there are benefits to living for others, they will be curious and want to try it. Once they do and feel the personal benefits, it will become natural for them to continue doing it. They will teach it to their children and promote it in their social actions. Over time this will promote greater cooperation and collectivism in the society, as emphasis shifts from "ME" to "US".

And how are you so sure that there was no joy associated with those who sacrifice greatly for the group? I should think that a soldier would be very happy with saving the lives of those who have supported him, by sacrificing his life to support them. At least, more than if he abandoned his comrades and had to live with that for the rest of his life. Ditto parents, pastors, police and everyone in such a position of sacrifice. We sacrifice because we weigh the benefits of sacrifice to society over the costs of not sacrificing to myself. That is the kind of altruism I'm talking about. Perhaps I should put it in quotes 'altruism'.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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f12hte wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:08 pm It's true, that I didn't adhere to the strict meaning of altruism. If we like doing something, then it can not be altruism and truly selfless. But thinking about the welfare of another before thinking of your own welfare happens all of the time, and you mentioned several instances where this happens. People are naturally social and mutual service is the glue which binds societies together. We can't comfortably exist by ourselves.
I do agree.

And, as Jonathan Haidt's book has said, both Collectivists and Individualists recognize that fact, and are motivated by it. They differ, though, as to what the solution is; simply to merge the individual into the collective, or to insist that the collective must retain respect for the rights of the individual.
Over time this will promote greater cooperation and collectivism in the society, as emphasis shifts from "ME" to "US".
This might be true if learning could persist from one generation to the other -- if, for example, ideology could be written into DNA, so that one generation's learning simply descended on the next in the form of genetic coding. Unfortunately, while we can retain some of this in culture, each person is born anew. Every individual starts from zero, in this regard. And we all start with ourselves as the centre of the universe. It's sociability that has to be learned, and learned new every generation.

What's more, conformity to social expectations or needs is not a universal signal of greater happiness. Individuals who feel themselves under control by their society, or even by friends and family, are often miserable and feel themselves pressured, confined, and "put upon," if not tyrannized and exploited. What that seems to suggest is that merging into the collective is not a great thing; there must be respect for the integrity and choices of individuals -- and as collectives grow larger, they get worse and worse at paying any attention to minorities and individuals.
And how are you so sure that there was no joy associated with those who sacrifice greatly for the group?
I did not suggest that. Not even once.

The soldiers who stormed the beach at Normandy must have felt, along with the terror, an elation at the sacrifice they were making. They were dying for freedom. But then, so did the followers of herr Hitler, as they nobly gave their lives to preserve the Fatherland from the scourge of inferior races. And will we really say there was no difference? The firemen from 9-11 were noble, no doubt, and made horrific sacrifices to rescue people; but the Jihadis who commandeered the aircraft felt, no doubt, a great rush of zeal and collective commitment to the cause as they rode the captive thousands screaming into the towers in the first place.

It's not enough to be altruistic. It's not enough to be collectivist. It's not even enough to be "happy," for that matter. To have a collective worth joining, worth sacrificing for, one must have an entirely noble collective. And there is much disagreement as to what a noble collective would look like, and no examples of a real one from history.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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So two opposing collectives struggle for power during these times. The first features the dictates of personal gods. These gods dictate morality. They decide for their followers what is good and evil.

This collective is opposed by the earthly god of society or the Great Beast. It dictates what member of society should and should not do according to the sacraments of political correctness and laws dictated by the Great Beast.

They are preparing for the great war in which these two collectives will oppose each other on the battlefield armed with peace signs They will attempt to kill each other with these weapons until one side surrenders. The victorious side enjoys victory until its failings are reveled and the opposing side becomes strong enough to fight again. These battles will continue. The money necessary to support these battles will come from the profits made by making new and improved peace signs capable of more efficient destruction.

The only time these two opposing collectives will agree is when they experience the threat of their common enemy- objective conscience. Neither corrupt morality or the secular ethics of the great Beast can tolerate those opening to the experience of objective conscience.
The development from a religion of fear to a moral religion is a great step in peoples lives. And yet, that primitive religions are based purely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on guard. the truth is that all religions are a varying blend of both types, with this differentiation: that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.

Common to all types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he want to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this.

The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.

How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.

-- Albert Einstein, Science and Religion, NY Times, November 9, 1930. <-- Click for complete essay.
Of course it cannot be tolerated which is why the two great collectives must join in condemnation of conscience which certain individuals can become aware of.. The threat is too strong to allow to survive. Think of what it would do to the economy. The Peace sign market would crash and interfere with progress.

No. let the champions of blind morality and secular ethics fight it out. Anything else suggesting awakening would be simply intolerable.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:29 am Pain's not, but what about the desire for addiction? What about attraction to violence, deceit, anger or to harmful sexual experiences? Can we really doubt that those things are desires that are morally bad, whether or not they are acted upon? And somebody whose mind was preoccupied with such desires, would we regard him as psychologically or morally well?

I'm thinking not.
With the exception of physiologically caused problems with consciousness, what people are mentally preoccupied with is not foisted on them, it is the consequence of their own choices. Patterns of thought are developed. Just like physical habits are developed by the degree of experience (usually pleasure) associated with them and the frequency with which one practices them, patterns or habits of thinking are developed by those things one chooses to think about most, especially when pleasure is assocaited with those thoughts. No habituated practice is irresistable, but it does become difficult to break such patterns of thought the more they are ingrained.

You may call the separate choices to indulge such thinking sins, but I think it is a mistake to make the resulting habituated desires sin.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:29 am
I regard rape and pedophilia paraphilias. All such desires are psychological problems. They are very bad and no one is indifferent to them. I see no evidence of sin in problems one is afflicted with.

I think these expressions, the medicalization of sin,

Whoa! Before we go any further you must understand I have no use for the pseudo-science of psychology which has done and continues to do irreparable harm to both individuals and society. "Paraphilias," happens to be a term sometimes used in the field of psychology, but it is only the identification of a class of human practices, like pica or self-harm (cutters). You won't find my explanation of the nature of paraphilias in any medical or psychology book.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:29 am ... these are desires that are intrinsically bad.
Within our agreed context that statement ought to be ignored, but you chose to use it.

Nothing is intrinsically bad. Good, bad, right, wrong, important, unimportant, needed, not needed, appropriate, inappropriate are all value terms, that is, terms of relationship. Something can only be good, bad, right, wrong, etc. in relationship to some objective, goal, end, purpse, or standard toward which or about which a thing has such a value. To be good, a thing must be good to someone for something, or to be bad, a thing must be bad to someone for something (in some way).
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:29 am And worse still, they are the prerequisite to the actions they entail. So not only are they bad for the one experiencing them, but they are a sine qua non of the harm they cause others when acted out. They're sin in inception, and also make possible the execution of sin.
Just being alive, having a victim available and opportunity are all prerequisites to such actions. Does that make any of those things sinful? What you are saying is that if someone just has a desire that, if indulged, would be wrong, that desire is itself a sin, even if it is totally repudiated by the one having the desire. Is that right?
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:29 am
I think you have misunderstood me. I referenced Matthew (It is not a sin to be tempted. It is only a sin to yield to temptation (desire) either in overt action (adultery) or in one's thinking (Mat. 5:28).
Oh, I see. So you're agreeing that there is such a thing as a sin of thought or a sin of intention, as well as a sin of action; you're just saying that you don't think the source of the thoughts or the actions is a feature intrinsic to the human character.

Have I got that right?
Yes.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:29 am If so, I would ask where these thoughts, these preludes to action, originate, if not in the human character? If there is sin (or evil) in the world, and sin in people's thoughts and actions, from whence does this come?
Everything a human does, every choice, thought, and act must be consciously chosen. For every possible choice there are an infinite number of possible wrong choices, but in most cases is only one or a very small class of right choices. (Think of an arithmetic test, for every right answer to a sum, there are an infinite number of possible wrong answers.) Odds are that people will make wrong choices, especially since most people do not make an effort to learn how to make right choices, (such as the rules of math) allowing feelings, whims, desires, irrational beliefs, authorities, what everyone else thinks, and sentiment to determine their choices rather than reason.

Many choices will involve cases that ought to be determined by moral principles. It is inevitable that those human beings who have no real moral principles or wrong moral principles will make choices that are objectively immoral.

So you can rightly say, it is human nature (or character) as volitional beings that is the source of immoral choices, as it is all other wrong choices human beings make. If your view were right, it would make the very fact of volition a sin.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am In fact, we all seem to have our own special set of sinful inclinations, don't we?
I think all the rest of our difference on the nature of sin can be reduced to this one major difference: you believe sin is something that happens to people, (as well as perhaps what they choose and do,) I think sin is something one does and only what one does, and that nothing imposed on a human being by birth, or any other way is sin or contributes, in any way, to sinful behavior.

In this sense I believe Christian teaching of a sinful nature is just another of those teachings that human behavior is determined, curbed, or limited in some way, by one's heredity, social influences, instinct, brain chemicals, DNA, evolution, or sinful nature. They are all wonderful excuses for every kind of wrong choice and behavior. Why should one bother to even try to avoid sin if it is inevitable?

I regard every individual totally responsible for everything they think and do, precisely because they can and must consciously choose everything they think and do, and there is no excuse.

Nothing makes any human being what they are as individuals. Every human being is, within the limits of their physical and psychological ability, whatever they choose to be.
Immanuel Can wrote: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:00 am
No, I was referring to all the ways most Christians try to explain the heart, e.g. "the seat of the emotions," or an aspect of the soul. I think the Biblical meaning is quite clearly something else.
What were you thinking?
I believe what the Bible means by, "heart," are all those beliefs and thoughts that are truly what one believes and bases their actual choices and values on, rather than any external claim for what one believes and values.

I have a basic question. What do you believe the Biblical meaning of Sin is? It obviously pertains to actions (including thought). Can it also pertain to things or substances?

Thanks for being reasonable and interesting in spite of our extreme differences. Very refreshing.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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RCSaunders wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:50 am With the exception of physiologically caused problems with consciousness, what people are mentally preoccupied with is not foisted on them, it is the consequence of their own choices.
Partly true, but partly not. It's clear we don't all start out equal, in this regard. Some people are more susceptible to one kind of desire, and some to another. And it's not always -- or even often -- a choice that determines this. It's not the case that we become filled with a particular desire only because we've "habituated" ourselves to it. That can happen, but it's not the way things often work.
You may call the separate choices to indulge such thinking sins, but I think it is a mistake to make the resulting habituated desires sin.
I wouldn't hesitate to call a habituated desire to gambling, alcohol, pedophelia, spousal abuse, sadism, pornography and so on "sin." I think that in that case, the "habituation" only adds an extra layer of blame: we're now talking about a person who has not only had a sinful desire, but has nurtured it, repeatedly indulged in it, and driven it into his or her character by habituation, rather than resisting it and conquering it.

I think that's definitely a clear case of sin. And it's the desire that's given that plant the root without which it could not have sprouted and borne fruit.
Nothing is intrinsically bad.

Oh, I think it can be.

It's true that some things are bad for _____, as in "Milk is bad for lactose intolerant digestive systems," but that's not morally bad. It just means, "counterproductive for," or "harmful to." But when we say that child murder is "bad," we don't mean merely that it's an ineffective way to control population: we mean it's intrinsically wrong to take a person who is incapable of harm and is trusting you, and to him/her an injury or cause his/her death.
Good, bad, right, wrong, important, unimportant, needed, not needed, appropriate, inappropriate are all value terms, that is, terms of relationship.

Not quite, RC. It' is true that some of these terms can be instrumental terms, as in "bad for _____." It is not true that that's all they can be, nor is it so that this is the way people often use them. Values are not all relative to the purposes of the actor. If it were the case, then theft would be right; for it achieves the purpose which I intend, which is to acquire your property expeditiously and without your knowledge.
Something can only be good, bad, right, wrong, etc. in relationship to some objective, goal, end, purpse, or standard toward which or about which a thing has such a value. To be good, a thing must be good to someone for something, or to be bad, a thing must be bad to someone for something (in some way).

I know what you're trying to get at, and there's something to it. But it's still only half the story.

The goal in itself can be "good" or "evil," for instance, regardless of the efficacy of the measure in achieving it. "Good" gas chambers are still instruments of evil. And those who want to make gas chambers still have a moral defect in their characters, and desires for that which is evil.
What you are saying is that if someone just has a desire that, if indulged, would be wrong, that desire is itself a sin, even if it is totally repudiated by the one having the desire. Is that right?
Ah, I see the sticking point, I think.

Sin is a multifaceted thing. It has stages...these are summarized in James 1:

"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death"

When temptation is not resisted, it becomes a "lust," a stronger, more passionate desire. When it has been nourished, it "gives birth" to a sinful desire. And when that sinful desire is acted upon, then the endgame is death. It is not the case that one link in the chain is "sin," and no other part is. They have a dynamic relationship with each other. In that sense, we should see sin as a process, not merely as an act.

Before the action, somebody has indulged the inclination. Before the inclination, somebody has been the kind of person who could enjoy that inclination. All are "sin," and all are part of the problem that manifests as sinful actions. It's that "somebody" who really needs help.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:29 am Oh, I see. So you're agreeing that there is such a thing as a sin of thought or a sin of intention, as well as a sin of action; you're just saying that you don't think the source of the thoughts or the actions is a feature intrinsic to the human character.

Have I got that right?
Yes.
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:29 am If so, I would ask where these thoughts, these preludes to action, originate, if not in the human character? If there is sin (or evil) in the world, and sin in people's thoughts and actions, from whence does this come?
Everything a human does, every choice, thought, and act must be consciously chosen.
Would you be a disbeliever in the unconscious? Or would you contest the possibility of uninformed or semi-informed choice-making? Is it really true that everything humans do is consciously chosen?

But then you also write...
....allowing feelings, whims, desires, irrational beliefs, authorities, what everyone else thinks, and sentiment to determine their choices rather than reason.
Would it be "sin" of them to allow these, whims, desires, feelings...etc. to determine their choices? I think it looks like you're saying it's "bad," and reason is "good."
Many choices will involve cases that ought to be determined by moral principles. It is inevitable that those human beings who have no real moral principles or wrong moral principles will make choices that are objectively immoral.
Now, why would that turn out to be the case, if what's in these amoral folks is morally neutral? Wouldn't it be the case that their choices would also inevitably be morally neutral? How then would we say it was "inevitable" that bad choices would ensue?

And what would make them "objectively" immoral?
So you can rightly say, it is human nature (or character) as volitional beings that is the source of immoral choices, as it is all other wrong choices human beings make. If your view were right, it would make the very fact of volition a sin.
It wouldn't make ALL volition sin; it would only make some particular volitions sin.

It would not be wrong to have a volition to give to charity. It would be wrong to have a volition to have sexual relations with a family member. Volition, like reason, would simply be a faculty, a property that made possible bad choices, but did not dictate that only bad choices could be made.

Your arms are a faculty that make possible both rocking your child to sleep and dashing her brains out on a rock. Which you do is a reflection of the desires that are within you, not a function of the arms. Just so, volition makes possible both good and bad choices. Volition is not evil.
I think all the rest of our difference on the nature of sin can be reduced to this one major difference: you believe sin is something that happens to people, (as well as perhaps what they choose and do,) I think sin is something one does and only what one does, and that nothing imposed on a human being by birth, or any other way is sin or contributes, in any way, to sinful behavior.
I'm not sure what you mean by "happens to people." I don't think I believe that. I do believe that sin can be a choice, but it's a choice that springs from the particular desires of a person, and those desires spring from a certain kind of disposition and character. I would argue that certain actions are indeed sin -- and there, we might agree. But I would add that the desires, the disposition and the character, which are the precipitators of the action, are also part of what is meant by "sin," Biblically speaking.

That's why sometimes the Bible speaks of "sins," as in separate actions that are wrong, and sometimes speaks of "sin," singular, the general quality of "moral wrongness" that infects a fallen world, and precipitates the individual "sins" in it.
In this sense I believe Christian teaching of a sinful nature is just another of those teachings that human behavior is determined, curbed, or limited in some way, by one's heredity, social influences, instinct, brain chemicals, DNA, evolution, or sinful nature.

Christian teaching doesn't make the sinful nature an "excuse" at all. Calvinism might, perhaps. But the Bible doesn't support Total Depravity doctrine, or the idea that people do not know what they are doing and could not have chosen to do otherwise.

Here again is where the distinction between "sins" and "sin" is useful. "Sins" are optional: any individual action could have been resisted, or something else could have been chosen. Nobody is forced into it. However, "sin" is a general, penetrating quality of the realm in which we live, and our nature responds to it; so at some point, we're all going to be touched by "sin." Which "sins" we will commit, that's up to us; but that we will not escape the creeping, defiling work of sin in the world and the inclination to it in ourselves, that's something we cannot beat.

Hence the need for salvation: this is a mess out of which we are insufficient to get ourselves. We can win small battles individually, but we're going to lose the war.
I regard every individual totally responsible for everything they think and do, precisely because they can and must consciously choose everything they think and do, and there is no excuse.
I would pretty much agree with this. But I think you can see I'm not a denier of volition or human responsibility.
Nothing makes any human being what they are as individuals. Every human being is, within the limits of their physical and psychological ability, whatever they choose to be.
Then you are a stronger, better man than I. I find myself sharing Paul's view:

"I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God [o]in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am!"

I understand that exclamation, experientially. I am not what I would like to be, and sometimes I do not do what I know (in theory) I ought to do. I do the other thing. And if this were the end of the story, I'd be in a bad way: but Paul ends, "Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

The Christian view of salvation is just this: that where we are helpless, in regard to our finite ability to resist sin, God is not finite. And whereas we cannot obtain forgiveness for our failures and weaknesses, God, being the ultimate moral Judge, can grant it.
I believe what the Bible means by, "heart," are all those beliefs and thoughts that are truly what one believes and bases their actual choices and values on, rather than any external claim for what one believes and values.
That would seem to square with a passage like, "...God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I have a basic question. What do you believe the Biblical meaning of Sin is? It obviously pertains to actions (including thought). Can it also pertain to things or substances?
Interesting. What "things" or "substances" do you mean?
Thanks for being reasonable and interesting in spite of our extreme differences. Very refreshing.
Thank you also. This is the ideal of what this forum should be, and what I wish it were at all times: two people showing mutual respect and decency to each other, while they discuss ideas important to them in a rational and civil way, and liking the persons their discussion makes them into.

It's a distinct pleasure whenever it happens. And whether we end up agreeing or not is not the decisive factor of whether or not this has been a good conversation: what seems to me to be the test is whether you and I are able to feel benefit by our exchange of ideas, and to part feeling that we are not ashamed of our behaviour, and would be happy to sit down to a beer together at the pub if such an eventuality were ever possible.

So this is great with me. And I appreciate your graciousness.
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:46 pm
f12hte wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:08 pm Over time this will promote greater cooperation and collectivism in the society, as emphasis shifts from "ME" to "US".
This might be true if learning could persist from one generation to the other -- if, for example, ideology could be written into DNA, so that one generation's learning simply descended on the next in the form of genetic coding. Unfortunately, while we can retain some of this in culture, each person is born anew. Every individual starts from zero, in this regard. And we all start with ourselves as the centre of the universe. It's sociability that has to be learned, and learned new every generation.
Have you ever heard of epigenetics? It seems that learned memories can be transmitted via DNA modifications. For example, the stress we experience in modern life might be changing our heritable genome. I guess such genetic slippage must be what drives evolutionary changes. Maybe that's how a smooth-running human collective can come about. Maybe we have to evolve into it. It's interesting science.

https://phys.org/news/2016-03-biologica ... ories.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-25156510
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:46 pm What's more, conformity to social expectations or needs is not a universal signal of greater happiness. Individuals who feel themselves under control by their society, or even by friends and family, are often miserable and feel themselves pressured, confined, and "put upon," if not tyrannized and exploited. What that seems to suggest is that merging into the collective is not a great thing; there must be respect for the integrity and choices of individuals -- and as collectives grow larger, they get worse and worse at paying any attention to minorities and individuals.
And how are you so sure that there was no joy associated with those who sacrifice greatly for the group?
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:46 pm I did not suggest that. Not even once.

The soldiers who stormed the beach at Normandy must have felt, along with the terror, an elation at the sacrifice they were making. They were dying for freedom. But then, so did the followers of herr Hitler, as they nobly gave their lives to preserve the Fatherland from the scourge of inferior races. And will we really say there was no difference? The firemen from 9-11 were noble, no doubt, and made horrific sacrifices to rescue people; but the Jihadis who commandeered the aircraft felt, no doubt, a great rush of zeal and collective commitment to the cause as they rode the captive thousands screaming into the towers in the first place.

It's not enough to be altruistic. It's not enough to be collectivist. It's not even enough to be "happy," for that matter. To have a collective worth joining, worth sacrificing for, one must have an entirely noble collective. And there is much disagreement as to what a noble collective would look like, and no examples of a real one from history.
Excellent point! At the heart of all, every person is helpless to his conscience. Every incidence of consciousness is formed from a unique set of life experience. And with a unique consciousness comes a unique idea of what is right and what is wrong. When one person's 'right' matches another person's 'wrong', all hell breaks loose as everyone insists on his unique view of righteousness. It's the same at all levels, individuals, societies, countries. The Buddhists are right. All evil comes from the nebulous 'self'. Without the concept of an insatiable 'self', we would realize the natural world objectively, using all available experience and information, and make decisions for 'US' instead of 'ME'. What's worse, surrendering self, or suffering the desolation of our planet, via disagreement and strife?
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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f12hte wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:56 pm Have you ever heard of epigenetics?
Yes, but two problems: one is that at present, it's speculative.

The second is that it's a method, not a moral. If epigenetics worked, it would not show that what we were "culturally transmitting" thereby was good, or right, or desirable. It might equally be bad, stupid or homicidal. Cultural transmission will not be guaranteed good by mere Collectivism: it would merely entail we would all be equally deluded, if things went bad.

It's bad enough that collectivists are over self-confident about "managing" masses of individuals within their own generation; it's unbelievably hubristic for them to imagine that they can "engineer" the cultural learning code, and thus "manage" the future generations. That's an Orwellian nightmare of the first order, really.
At the heart of all, every person is helpless to his conscience.
Eh? Did you mean "conscience" or "consciousness"? I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.
Every incidence of consciousness is formed from a unique set of life experience.
That would undermine any possibility of Collectivism, then. All "collectives" would merely be voluntary associations of "unique" individuals.
And with a unique consciousness comes a unique idea of what is right and what is wrong.
Hmmm... no. Not close to true.

If it were so, we'd have zero chance of us ever having a common definition of right and wrong. But individuals do form "moral groups," in which particular moral precepts are shared by all. Look at the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" causes, and you have a demonstration of this. The protesters may all be "unique" individuals; but they're all there for a common and well-understood cause, on both sides.
When one person's 'right' matches another person's 'wrong', all hell breaks loose as everyone insists on his unique view of righteousness.
This is an extremely rare situation, if it ever occurs at all.

Are you suggesting that "all hell" ensues when one person, say somebody who believes "Incest is wrong" (but nobody else does, you say, because he's "unique") bumps into someone who thinks "Incest is right"? And then there's a little two person fight on the street corner, over incest, among two "unique" people?

Naw. That's not how it happens.
The Buddhists are right.
Have you been to a Buddhist country? Like, say, Myanmar?

The country that most privileges the "self" idea right now is probably the US. And everybody's screaming to get in there. I wonder why, if it's so awful.
Last edited by Immanuel Can on Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

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The collective is the expression of sin

From Simone Weil's Gravity and Grace:
The Great Beast [society, the collective] is the only object of idolatry, the only ersatzof God, the only imitation of something which is infinitely far from me and which is I myself.

It is impossible for me to take myself as an end or, in consequence, my fellow man as an end, since he is my fellow. Nor can I take a material thing, because matter is still less capable of having finality conferred upon it than human beings are.

Only one thing can be taken as an end, for in relation to the human person it possesses a kind of transcendence: this is the collective.
The idolatry of the grand collective or the Great Beast Plato referred to
“Give me beauty in the inward soul; may the outward and the inward man be at one.” ~ Socrates
The outer man is our personality developed and controlled by sin natural for the grand collective. The inner man is what we are and contains our human potential.

The outer man is a machine which reacts to the world so naturally cannot evolve. The inner man can realize its situation and seek freedom from being tied to the world. This is the aim of all the great traditions.

The outer man, the atom of the grand collective, is limited to mechanical reaction to worldly influences. The inner man has the potential for conscious action and the quality of individuality the great beast, the personality is incapable of.

The life cycles of the great beast are described in Ecclesiastes 3 When the collective believes it is making human it is actually turning in circles.

E
cclesiastes 3 King James Version (KJV)
3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Now we can see why we are powerless in front of sin. Sin is within our personality and the motivating force of our lives. The outer man is not a reflection of the inner man. Sin prevents it. It is what chains our being to the earth. Freedom from the control of sin can only come from the energy of the Holy Spirit which nourishes the inner man. That is why the world rejects it. It threatens the control of sin which is expressed in the conditioned reactions of the Great Beast.
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