Individualism That’s Finished


A superb quote from Network (1976)

What is finished… is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it. It’s the individual that’s finished. It’s the single, solitary human being that’s finished. It’s every single one of you out there that’s finished, because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. It’s a nation of some 200-odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-that-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings, and as replaceable as piston rods…

Well, the time has come to say, is dehumanization such a bad word. Because good or bad, that’s what is so. The whole world is becoming humanoid – creatures that look human but aren’t. The whole world not just us. We’re just the most advanced country, so we’re getting there first. The whole world’s people are becoming mass-produced, programmed, numbered, insensate things…

Are we losing our individualism?

We were all born with compassion, love, empathy and kindness, but as we grown up we lost that nature bit by bit. Remember when we were kids, all we wanted to do was having fun. We never care about religion, politics and racism.

So where did we got all of that? In my personal experience, we’re surrounded mostly with people of that negative qualities. Religious infighting, racism and prejudices is the norm. We can pretend that that never happened, but deep inside we know things are not well.

When we try to make sense of it, we say ‘that’s how the world is today’, so we live our normal lives without thinking about how to change that. We might not able to change the world, but we can change ourselves for the betterment.

Think about this quote for a moment:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world – Mahatma Ghandi

A simple act of kindness is all we need to do to create a better world. Most people don’t see that because they’re part of ‘that’s how the world is today’. Sometimes we even tolerate that kind of negative behavior in exchange of monetary gains. It’s very true, I’ve experienced it first hand.

So what can we actually do to change what’s around us? The simple solution is stop being fake. Be yourself, because being yourself is pure, like how we used to be as kids, just wants to have fun.

Of course, when I say that human nature is gentleness, it is not 100 percent so. Every human being has that nature, but there are many people acting against that nature, being false… – Dalai Lama

When I think about it, we’re not actually purposely being bad, we’re just being fake. We fake our appearances to conform to the the world that we’re living today. We go along with the current negative flow because we don’t want to be seen different and being mocked at. We just want to survive.

But does being ruthless at the expense of others is the solution to survival? If we go back to our nature; being kind to other people, showing empathy, helping the need, encouraging people to be content with what they have, are we actually going backwards? What’s wrong with all that? Remember, all we ever wished for is being happy.

An example to put things into perspective;

A guy wants to conduct a business with another guy in a civilized and professional manner. The other guy is a ‘to look up to’ guy in the corporate world and is well respected because of his success. But this guy who want this business deal has to some things that he doesn’t like such as pay for his illicit practices (bribe), prostitution and others.

He said it’s necessary because he just wants to get the business deal done although he knows that that very act is violating his basic principle of kindness. So in the name of survival (generating income) this guy put aside his principles and go along with the flow.

Is that necessary?

After a while this corporate guy turn the tide on this other guy and make his life miserable. This guy who’re previously content because he wants the business deal suddenly had a change of heart and despise this corporate guy. He said all the money in the world cannot erase the bad things he’s done to him.

Now he knows that money isn’t everything.

Good people learn from their mistakes, the foolish ones makes the mistakes and keep repeating them. All of us doesn’t want to be the foolish ones, so why must we do the same thing all over again to different people?

All this comes back to the original premise; are we losing our individualism, which are based on  compassion, love, empathy and kindness?

Not all businesses are based on ruthlessness, competition corruption and fakery. A woman selling Nasi Lemak by the roadside doesn’t need to be all that, yet she can still survive and make a good living. It’s a matter of choice.

We might not have free will, but we certainly have choices to make, and the choices we make that makes the difference, to us and the world.

As long as we live, we are always looking at ways to improve, to be better. We might not achieve the ultimate goals that we set during our lifetime, but it’s the moment during the process what really matters. It’s the journey that count, not necessarily the destination. Small change makes a big difference.

So what are the solution to this mess?

  • Take a long hard look into our life, are we happy with what we have now? If not it is our obligation to find a way to fix it
  • Find a business or job that doesn’t require you to get involved in this corrupt practices
  • We were born with a set of specific talent; use it to your best. Most of the time we see a person who’re good at something doing other things that he’s not good at and work really hard to achieve it
  • Don’t fight your nature, we are only a tiny existence in this massive universe
  • Don’t do what you hate to see from other people. We might hate the politicians but sometimes we act like them, think like them

Making a change or going back to our nature is really hard because we were programmed to do the opposite. When I’m writing this I’m in no way saying that I’m any better than you or that I’ve already achieved total happiness. Please keep that in mind. This has nothing to do with showing who’s better at what and such.

If you think making money and survive is hard, try to be yourself and see how it goes. It may be ugly with lots of disappointments along the way, but one thing for sure, it will be worth it

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