Individualism as the Nature of Human: Alternating the Becoming of Human
“I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables — slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war… Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
― Chuck Palaniuk, Fight Club
The quote which is popularly told by Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club describes a lot on how historically humans have been deceived by hierarchies. The modern state of mind that was created by the hierarchy on those whom has it grasps on the top of human food chain hierarchy has been propagating these lies, and as the time goes, the situation which wrote the history changed as well. The society has normalized these lies, stuck in their own definition of normal itself, and enslaved themselves within the chain under the fallacies in their own self-consciousness.
Capitalism, the major root behind this hierarchy, through the propagation of the lies has been eliminating the major power for the society to strike back, forcing humanity to walk on the parallel path from the idea of humanity itself derived from, to create an alternate modern state of mind in which creating dependencies on the society to be enslaved by the hierarchy, and altogether alienating themselves from their long lost collective tradition. These lies have created a new perspective on how we see ourselves. We are a stranger in our own mind, we are a stranger in our own personality, we are a stranger in our own man-made world.
Palaniuk’s work has been reflecting an alternate reality in which the society itself has break through the chain of those lies told by the hierarchy, the lies that have been propagated for centuries. In America, the fact that America lacks industrial workers as the traditional members of the proletariat, the shift and reformation on the economy roots of America has created another major power of the proletariat class in the society and therefore created an American version of the proletariat: service workers. In Fight Club, the description of service workers are closely tied with the imagery of proletariat class; they are enslaved by the hierarchy, by the historical definition and historical purpose of themselves as a human; they are the victims of reification; and they possess the latent power to strike back and forment social revolution.
The work has created a good illustration on the process behind how the social revolution initiated by the inferior class of the society may happen. Tyler Durden, on Palaniuk’s work, has become the catalyst behind the social revolution, becoming the charismatic leader who acted as a vanguard which guarded the social revolution to reach its purpose. It has clearly illustrated the process of a social revolution which was described by Marx. The major part of how the social revolution succeeded is the ruination of the main object behind the hierarchy of Capitalism: money. The work has described how the process of social revolution ended up successfully. However, the work itself has yet to describe the vital part, the heart of the social revolution, and the key element to the Marxist’s utopian dream: the outcome of the revolution.
What Imight say is we might never know where the revolution might lead us, lead the people, lead the world to. You might never know whether it would reach the classless society, or create another circumstance or condition that differs a lot from the true meaning of ‘classless’. What if, the ruination of capitalism, the hierarchy which binds us, just directs us into a goal which distincts from our own state of nature in which we might see a classless society? What if our own state of nature itself wasn’t collective at all?
“For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.”
― Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law
In contrast to the social revolution, Aleister Crowley marked an evolution in humanity’s spiritual evolution. Inside his mind, inside his comprehension of humanity itself, he gave a new focus inherent to the evolution of humanity: the individual. His philosophy of individualism gave us a comprehensive alternative version of the outcome that would happen whence the hierarchy breaks. When the bonds of hierarchy were shattered, we were left with the multiple perspectives of a host of separate individuals. In the case of social revolution, what might happen as the outcome of the social symptom is the rise of individualism itself.
The growth of human spirituality in this case might evolve its own self-consciousness, and might revert its focus back to the individual. Of course, this idea of evolving pattern towards individuality is indeed inevitable. Inside the hierarchy of capitalism, we were being alienated from one to another, creating and boosting the growth of individualism with its structure. Now, even when the hierarchy breaks, the ideas behind the propagation of lies that enslaved us, would eventually change it matters but never it would change the focus on individuals. We can’t change the nature of humanity where every man and woman think that they’re the main character of their own story, the hero in their own fairy tale. We can’t eliminate the obsession of every human on themselves. The desire to be loved, the desire to be the best over another human, the desire to paved a path and sow their own glory in its way, it’s all human.
The Meaning of Individualism
At some point, this eventually leads to the definition of individualism that was explained using the term of Homo Homini Lupus which means a man is a wolf to another man. The definition is interpreted as a human might see another human as a threat to their glory, as a threat to their own obsession and dreams, and in this way the definition distinguishes itself a lot from what is known as humanity. The definition was rather harmful and it can’t actually describe the social symptoms nowadays where individualism is rather popular.
“I shall choose friends among men, but neither slaves nor masters. And I shall choose only such as please me, and them I shall love and respect, but neither command nor obey. And we shall join our hands when we wish, or walk alone when we so desire. For in the temple of his spirit, each man is alone.”
― Ayn Rand
This definition of individualism might fit the best for the social symptom in the world where we set our foot nowadays. Ayn Rand in her philosophy did not believe that the concern for the wellbeing of others should limit personal liberty. Nowadays, whenever we ask about the originality of a human’s action, we might ask about the true purpose over one’s action. In their own obsession over themselves, the concern of the wellbeing of others might be seen as an act towards their own glory, and in the end the purpose behind their own action is using this concern over others as a mere step towards their own goal, towards their own purpose.
But, the purpose behind the mere action based on individualism wasn’t all evil and pragmatical. Some humans might be pragmatic in the case of using lies, deceit, and other kinds of immoral acts. Yet, some other might use a mere action towards the concern of other wellbeing as a salvation towards themselves, and in this case it might be included as an act of individualism. Therefore, the generalization over individualism through the meaning and the example of act should be clarified because individualism, other than it is being inevitable, it is not evil and immoral.