The Seed of Individualism Was an Appleseed

I’m not a psalmist, but I like the lateral-logic character of a psalm. This post requires both linear and lateral thinking. Written as more of a political lamentation in reaction to the apparent disconnect between a person & a job.This post is divided into two main sections: the foundation for me-ism and a political manifestation.

I think the root of all evil is selfishness. After all, why did Adam & Eve even want to bite into the forbidden apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil? It represented a sin (a deviation from the harmony of living within the Grace of God) because of the necessity to take one’s eyes off the divine whole and assume the mantle of harmony into the self: God’s-eye knowledgeability without the knowledge of good & evil.

Suddenly they realize they’re naked. They hide themselves in shame.

Naked: the self looks upon itself and applies an evaluation based on criteria that judges self-worth, worthiness, appropriateness.

Naked: unfinished, incomplete.

Naked: exposed to [judgment, the elements].

Naked: me vs. not me.

Naked: just me.

New-borns with themselves as the measure of themselves.  A circle with a spiral focus animated by free will and the will to be divine without knowledge of what that means.

Meaning: significance of, import of, purpose of … reference to

Me’s find themselves in competition with each other. Because circumstances differ, perspectives differ; and the only right answer is ‘right’ as it applies to … me. The living whole has become living within the hole carved out of the whole, with me as my own necessary concern.

So then rules have to be put into place to simulate the wholeness that existed before the me pitted itself against the not me, when the me’s were an us, an organic part of the whole. The me’s separated themselves intellectually from the whole in their quest for knowledge of good and evil, so the rules are to help them to “act” as a whole and to recognize, according to definitions, what is good and evil. Whole is good. Whole is holy. Whole is a divine state.

Evil: causing harm and adversity — disharmony within the system as a whole; obstructing wholeness.

All the time, the me grows more distinct; the self grows more arrogant, attributing unto itself a knowledge and power and position within the whole that it doesn’t actually possess. The me now lives only to serve itself; and the not-me exists to fulfill that service. Me-ism.

Evil: mindless me-ism at the expense of not-me.

Survival of the fittest — an evolutionary concept. Those that can’t, die off leaving those that can. It’s natural, karmic order. You get what you deserve; you should not have what you do not deserve. Diversity only exists now by its ability to stave off homogenization. Conformity to the me-group, the collection of me’s — individuals — organized to ensure maximum me-ism.

Rules now, while having been rooted in an attempt at the divine whole, have evolved to classify me-groups.  I know God by how I know me. To know me is to know God…in accordance with the path worn by self-interest.  We are indivisible.

God is really out of the picture. We cannot say we depend on God, who tends to the least sparrow, and still kill the sparrow in the interest of me. God is no more than an excuse now — Deus ex machina — when the supremacy of me appears to fail.

You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by Law; you have fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).

Individual: indivisible unit or entity; a single organism capable of independent existence; solitary as distinguished from a group. Markedly personal. Separate.

But we aren’t.

We cannot separate ourselves from the nutrients and minerals that our body requires to remain in tact, indivisible. The same nutrients and minerals derived from the dust of which we are made, and to which we’ll return.

Adam: ancient Hebrew for soil or ground, related to blood and the color red. (Red man[kind], red-colored dirt, dirt and red water, flesh)

Me-ism, individualism.  The dirt has superseded itself.

The type of individualism that insists that we are each an independent agent on a planet whose life forms are sustained ONLY by interdependencies is romantically obtuse. Fooled by the ability to think that Adam — mankind — is divorced from interdependencies; and that individuals likewise are thus divorced by extension.

An indivisible entity divided : man from the planet, man from each other, man from the Divine.  Alienated, to be strangers one from the other.  Rules aren’t helping … at all.

This type of individualism is selfishness because it’s a focus on the self [the individual]. That adds up to ‘duh’, tautologically. Selfishness is thought to be a myopic affliction where you only ascribe value to anything in accordance to how it seemingly enhances you, the self.  Selfishness is normalized. Normalcy.

I. Me. Mine. Myself.

A group of individualists can only hope a type of society arises if enough of them act similarly (as in their self-interests align) such that solidarity, cohesion, and “values” will manifest from the swamp of egoism in sufficient quality and quantity that could be called “community” or family or nation. Diversity means misalignment of interests.

Ours.

How is individualism related to the rule “love thy neighbor as thyself”? The “love” in that formula would be accidental, not deliberate. Coincidental, not directed. That love is contrived to simulate or to create the self-deluding illusion of interest in the divine whole.

That interest is now just an interest. Another facet of me and us.

You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do.” Anne Lamott [excerpt from ‘Kissing Fish’ by Rev. Roger Wolsey]

Political Manifestation & Individual Responsibility

In politics right now, there seems to be a type of severe individualism (absolute “self-sufficiency” and detached “responsibility”) that is blinded to the fact that the “welfare” of a nation is dependent upon our working together as a national “community.” Not just me, but us.  All of us.

It can’t be every man for himself because that actually does not exist — we depend on each other for our economy, the health of our water & air & soil; we are a fabric of cells working in concert for the well-being of the body we wish to call a “nation.” A nation of … [    ]. (fill in the blank)

Co-operation is the key to cohesion. We operate together, else we fall apart — or fall from together.

I was reading a blog thread on The Slacktivist that included discussion about cutting unemployment benefits. One commenter said, “what do these [evangelicals] think is going to happen?” The next commenter said, “They’ll have to get off their asses and get a job.”

But the question left unanswered is: get a job where?

Where indeed! And this is where the lateral logic comes into play. Think eco-system.  Think, we’re all applying our shared resources toward a common purpose: you scratch my back, I scratch yours, and hey, let’s make some money and enjoy being one big happy system of inter-operators.  Let’s take care of each other.

And then ask yourself: what’s going on in Wisconsin?

Institutionalized Me-ism translates to greed. But we already know about greed — we just gotta deal with it in a way that maximizes our common good.  More rules … er, policies … now.

For years and generations, we have paid our dues as citizens.  We paid our taxes to build an eco-system of infrastructure to support our businesses and, ultimately, each other. We have court systems (80% of which is used by business), we have transit systems, communications systems, utility systems, banking systems — all built from our taxes, our contribution to the whole, for the good of all of us.

And we have a couple political philosophies that do their part to further their philosophies.  The me-ist philosophy says that them with the most stuff musta worked harder and smarter to get it.  But that is only true to a point!  Tax breaks, loop holes, and other preferential benefits have been GIVEN to big business entities because “thems the ones with the jobs.”

Fair enough.  We the people will allow our government to institutionalize in benefits to business because it’s from business the jobs come, and keeping businesses happy and healthy will result in their producing jobs, which keep the economy (the rest of us) happy and healthy.  Right?  It’s a type of insurance program or health-maintenance program.

A closed system, an ecosystem of interdependencies.

But it’s called “trickle down” — we’re heaping in the benefits and getting a trickle of return.  Good enough … UNTIL we need the insurance program to pay out; good enough UNTIL, not only are we not getting jobs from this political contract, but now they’re going to start cutting the things we put in place to support the common social good because those things cost money that is not in the system because there are no jobs, revenue from people working (taxes) and a robust economy (people spending money and greasing the machine) from a healthy, working system that must all work together for it to work at all.

And we’re going to demonize the needy as lazy & under-deserving. We’re going to frame the social-good programs as Big Brother and Nanny State entitlement fat.  We can no longer afford to scratch backs, pick each other up when we fall, or formalize help in what the larger society looks on as beneficial to us all (in the long run), like helping to procure breast pumps for our new mothers.  We’re going to cut unemployment help, and we’re going to cut taxes for the wealthy and big business. Either the contract is breached, or the system is being steered wrong. But what we put in place to help us all has been or is being thwarted.

The circle is broken, the eco-systemic balance out of whack.

It’s not called “trickle-down” for no reason. There’s a reservoir up there that isn’t being tapped. The cure for unemployment & even the deficit is jobs, not crippling cuts. With the benefits (the infrastructures, tax breaks, loop holes, etc.) institutionalized for “them with the jobs” (big business), it’s really, really time for them to live up to their part of the bargain. The spigot that governs the flow needs to be opened for less trickle and more volume. Why should the people on whose back the economy is actually built — for whose BENEFIT the economy exists — suffer from the insufferable greed at the top and then accept the blame with “it’s all your fault because each individual is responsible for himself.”

Did big business “earn” the benefits they get?  No.  We all pitched in — we paid taxes.  Our ancestors, our parents, and us.  Did they work hard for those benefits? No.  We all knew that for all of us to be successful, we needed to create an infrastructure ecosystem.  Why are we continuing to give them tax breaks and loopholes?  So they can keep more of their “hard-earned” dollars — dollars that they deserve?  The karma here is seriously screwed up.

After all, giving big business and the rich tax breaks & other benefits was done to keep them healthy in order for the trickle-down machine to work correctly: to keep us healthy, right? It’s a type of insurance payment that isn’t paying back when we need it. Them with the jobs need to live up to their contract. Shareholders need also to understand that their investment was an investment in an insurance contract, for which they bear the risk, NOT the working people.

Now the same people who want to continue feeding into this system with no return want to start making the “hard decisions” which translates to cutting more and more programs that serve the general social good, based on the philosophy that it’s every man for himself: get off your ass and get a job (the one that has dried up and that hasn’t managed to trickle out of them into whom we invest to provide us with jobs).  The inter-dependencies have been obscured by political philosophy, me-ism: them with the most stuff obviously worked harder to get it…without help?

The comment that the unemployed “get off their asses and get a job” seems Ayn-Rand unaware of interconnectedness. It’s an “Atlas Shrugged” attitude…which is rather scary. What it lacks is empathy (NOT sympathy, but EMpathy). Empathy that is the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of circumstances that recognizes “THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I.”

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12 Responses

  1. Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott recently said “We need to treat business people differently. We need to say we’ve got to reduce our taxes, we’ve got to reduce their regulation” in the context of creating jobs by making it less costly to hire employees, thus making the US more competitive with other countries.

    In the post above, I referred to giving businesses benefits to keep them healthy because “them’s the ones with the jobs.” But the Gov here makes it clear that doling out the benefits to “business people” isn’t necessarily to keep our economy healthy (to induce the businesses … er, business PEOPLE … to supply more jobs), it’s to kiss their asses, butter them up, show them favoritism to make ’em feel the love.

    This goes beyond “trickle down” … it’s kiss up, trickle down.

  2. Rand Paul’s rant about toilets, environmentalism, and free choice.
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/03/rand-pauls-toilet-tirade.html

    Here we have a classic example of individualism ueber alles. I want free choice to use things that pollute & destroy our collective environment because they are things that work well and that I want.

    His head isn’t just in his ass, it’s in his toilet!

  3. On the April 14 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade reacted to Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans by claiming it would give more money “to the government as opposed to investing it in different areas, starting a different company, hiring more people.”

  4. Ayn Rand’s work, “Atlas Shrugged” is currently the Tea Party’s bible and Paul Rand’s guiding light.

    She believed selfishness was a virtue, and that it was wrong to tax the “wealthy” to prop up the weak and undeserving. The former, which included businessmen and bankers, were “producers” while the latter were “parasites” — the only two categories for existing to her mind. The parasites, or the poor, were are not victims of circumstance, but rather of their poor choices. Given the wealth in a nation, they are less deserving, and social programs lead to tolerance of the incompetent.

    The “morality of altruism” is the enemy and must be rejected for a civilization to survive.

    More here.

    ~~

  5. “And in the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with good and gladness” (Acts 14:16-17).

    Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets (Romans 3:19-21).

    So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs but on God who has mercy. (Romans 9:16)

  6. A wonderful post from the Slacktivist about how we are all responsible, or to use MLK’s term (the title of the post), An Inescapable Network of Mutuality.

    ~~

  7. […] on June 7, 2011 by SigoTratando This is an extract of a political point as the second part of The Seed of Individualism Was an Appleseed. I decided to pull this out & expand it because of the just-recent Unemployment & […]

  8. debunking “The Diversity Myth

  9. The Politics of Being a Good Christian

    The researchers found that the original God Gap may be overstated. Being more religious makes “avoiding sin” Christians more conservative on social issues like abortion, gay rights, or the role of women in society. “Helping others” Christians do not become more conservative on abortion or gay rights. In fact, these Christians become more liberal on issues related to women.

    As these “helping others” Christians become more religious, they also become more liberal on issues such as aid to the poor, welfare spending, government health insurance, government aid to African-Americans, and unemployment aid. Being a more observant “avoiding sin” Christian has no affect on how they view these issues with one exception—the more religious an “avoiding sin” Christian is, the more they oppose government health insurance.

    The “sinning less” group focuses more on itself.

    ~~

  10. Making work ~the Slacktivist

    Saying we “can’t afford” to put people back to work because of budget deficits is like trying to save money by quitting your job to cut down on the cost of commuting.

    ~~

  11. Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. … All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands can produce, is derived to him by living in society;1 and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.

    ~Thomas Paine

    1 You didn’t build that.

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