Monday, October 25, 2010

Individuation versus Mass Conformity

When reading the newspapers or watching broadcasts, a central theme emerging, is this argument over whether individuals should be allowed to make their own choices -- or whether those choices should be made for them, by those who presumably know better, what is best for everyone. That is the central issue of all the arguments. And then the mass media's job, is to tell everyone what those edicts are, whether through public service announcements, personal biases and political/social correctness, or more intensive courses of socialization, as schools, universities, and professional/trade associations.

These arguments are as universal and as old as recorded time of which the story of creation, is God asking the quintessential man and woman, "My way or the highway?" And of course, the road leading anywhere else, is fraught with perils -- unlike the garden of eden for never venturing outside -- and discovering whether life could be any better.

The quality of life, is the measure of whether individuals have more choices in life, or whether they have no other choice but to accept their one fate -- determined by others. That is at least the symbolic and public function of elections that are carried out regularly and predictably -- which many have learned to to take for granted, which is also their choice too.

But the importance of choosing often and whenever possible, is the fulfillment of a life of choices -- and not just the promise of it, always unrealized and untapped, because, that is the difference in the outcome of lives -- if for no other reason than the realization that every action and behavior is a choice, and not a destiny determined by others.

For those who have been around long enough to have witnessed the difference and changes, they know that even those of the same age and economic circumstances, can now be very different not because of one big choice, but the result of many little choices -- that altogether added up to a big difference in the end -- which never ends because they are still choosing, and not just resigning themselves to a fate determined by others -- which in the end, is the beginning of the end of life.

That can happen at any time -- and so at election times, the critical question to ask is not whether one is choosing never to have to make a choice again, or whether this present choice, leads to more choices or less, and ultimately none, because those who they have chosen, will know what is best for them forever more -- and so they never have to do any more thinking for themselves.

But assuredly, they will be told what to do, and when to do it.


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