In western society there is great emphasis on the rights of the individual. Every person has rights to privacy, liberty of speech and expression of his desires. Societies where the individual is valued differently, have acquired a bad reputation. In the case of communism for example, this is a consequence of bad execution, politics, and counter propaganda. Communism, just like individualism, socialism, and materialism however, are all ideologies. Even though, individualism is one of the reigning ideas in the west nowadays, does not mean it is any better than the others. It is just that it’s supporters played the political game better at the moments it mattered most. I believe it ignorant to think therefore, that the individual, as in every person for himself, is what we should cherish most in our society. Definitely, when you consider what actually forms the basis for what we call our expressions, and my identity.
Nevertheless, the idea that every person is an individual, has become so strong that there is a whole construct of laws and rules to protect it. There are fines and jail sentences defined for any person who dares to walk in to the house of a stranger, who discriminates, or tries to change the way someone else dresses.
These values are such an inherent part of our society, that you tend to forget what they really are. The concept of every person being an individual, just like the idea of every individual being equal to the other, was invented by us humans. Interestingly though, they are now the pillars we build our society upon, without them we believe there is no freedom.
As a consequence we conceive that every person has distinct features, characteristics and preferences. Even though, all the things we tend to believe as being part of oneself, are usually not. The country I am from, the education I had, my friendships, and the family name I bare, are all realities kept in place by every single person believing them. If humans would go extinct, there would be no families, friendships, education, or countries left.
Therefore, to believe that the country you are from, your education, and your friendships are part of you, seems incorrect. Rather, everything you are, is a reflection of what is between you and the world around. A creation of our collective minds. Though, our blind trust in the importance of the individual, reduces the probability that you recognize this.
I know, that when I accept I am not me, but a reflection of the world around me, it seems more important to know what the world around me really is. Do I really want to see things the way they are presented to me, or would I like to perceive differently?
The result of this mindset, I believe, allows me to make more conscious decisions on what I want to take in, and what I want to reflect back to my environment. When I stop believing in me as an individual, a lot of opportunities open up. All of a sudden, everything that bothers me I can let go, because it is not mine to begin with. At the same time, everything I deem important I am free to identify with. Ultimately, as much as my behavior is subject to my environment, my environment is subject to my behavior.