Suraj Kushwah

Individualism is a Curse


Individualistic mindset originated from west, making it's way towards asian countries, ruining cultures, families and individuals (irony). Thanks to globalization, mass media and hyber capitalism.

Note: In this article the community mostly refer to your origin, like your family and cultural background.

What is Individualism?

Well it's something we all see in people around us, but hardly understand. It's a celebration of self or individual. A notion that the ultimate unit of analysis is the individual. A self defining, self guiding being. Here the focus in on individual. Let me put in a simple way. "Being a selfish bitch". All these modern statements are the symbol of individualistic mindset -

People always spam each other's social media wall with self obsessing pictures and quotes where they embrace how important an individual is. In movies, media, news we also see one man is a hero, one person do everything.

Individualism also promote self reliance. Means you have to take care of yourself by your own. This is why kids in US are taught to start living by themselves early in life. Also they are not obliged to take care of their parents in future. It's deep rooted in west culture. It's true to say - this is the reason why west progressed so much in some areas, over the past decades.

Now there is a lot to unwrap here, But first lets understand the opposite of it - Collectivism.

What is Collectivism now?

Collectivism is when the focus is not on an "Individual" but it's on family, communities and society. Basically it's "We" and not "I". Have you seen in anime Attack on titan. When 100~ scouts marched to death, so humanity can accomplish just one objective. Their leader Erwin Smith said -

erwin smith last speech

This is such an great example of collectivism. In real world you can find 10000~ of examples like this. In collectivism, everyone have a role and he/she serve it. According to Erwin Smith, our individual lives might seem meaningless but summing all up - it all make sense.

Now if I talk my personal experience. Over time I realized, not every person in this world is able to find out his purpose. Not everyone can really run into a race, where he or she have to make critical decisions. Some people want to live in groups. They enjoy caring for others, doing traditional business. Some people see their individuality in the context of cultural obligations and responsities. Basically in collectivism - The answer of the question "Who are you?" is always based on the roles you play "as father", "as mother", "as friend", "as child", "as brother".

Collectivism is relaxing, you don't have to figure out, how to live, where to live. You can depend on community. It's much safe and less stressed way. You don't have to do everything by yourself, you just have to focus on your role and that's it.

This new modern bugman mentality, where an individual suddenly deny, his origin, his culture and start doing things just for his own pleasure. Is a distortion of society.

Why Individualism is bad?

Even though it's obvious, here we go -

Collectivism is the True Way

Most psychologist believe. If you are feeling alone, disconnected, alienated and you want a solution. The most classic, ancient answer will be. You should start with "Forget Yourself". You are sad because you focus on yourself. If you lose yourself to family, community, society. You will find "Who you really are or meant to be?". You will come down to understand virtue, engagement and meaning in those activities. It might sounds like an optimistic answer and a unreasonable sacrifice. But wisdom of ages bears out the truth. As we go about caring for others and investing ourselves, in things that are more important and larger then ourselves, We find ourselves. But if we set out to find ourselves that's a never ending quest. You won't find anything. There is nothing to be found.

Individualism isn't real (based)

I believe individualism, what we see in modern society (especially west), doesn't exist. Individualist are always hypocrite. Here's why?

This arguments shows, how individualism is just a way to justify immporality and selfish nature of a person. Most of these false individuals have narssistic tendencies. To be honest, if someone truly feel he can't blend him into community, he want to be truly free from society. I can understand his arguments. Even though it still selfish. But I can respect it more than this false individualism.

Some individuals justify balance and say things like, they are okay with community, but they need right to choose. Like, we are talking about reddit communities. No one have right to choose. That's unnatural. You can't choose your race, your history, your family. Individuality itself get enforced by modern economic system. Also individuals are not smart enough to make independent decisions. If you push this narriative, everyone will choose whatever comfort them. Now I understsand some very extreme cases. within some small groups like families. You might can ignore some culture practice. But being a bugman and saying, no I am not part of this. Is just Dumb. You have to take responsibility for your family and community action. Ofcourse it is a fault of community too, if community be toxic, which means they don't care or think about each other. Then this can lead to individualism. But whatever it is. I Like how they put in Mr. Robot "There's an unequal amount of good and bad in most things. The trick is to figure out the ratio and act accordingly".

Idealogy clash in Modern familes

Most people who are individualist sometimes end up showing care for family. Because even though they are individuals, they still got some hardcoded mindset by society. Like "Parents are God". But they are always negative towards society. Because they don't get the idea of caring for society.

Now even though it's very important to care for society or people in general. We need to first focus on family and friends. Now collectivism meaning of family is "joint families". So you don't just have to think about your parents. But also entire group. I mean it's always good to start with parents.

I see this in my life too. My brother always had an individualist mindset, while my parents are obviously collectivist. Now obviously they both lack realization but moving on -

The only way you can totally justify most modern youth way of thinking regarding their parents or friends is when you completely discard the idea of collectivism.

More Collectivism

Lets see some simple examples to understand collectivism.

Why Individualism spread?

Look at all the asian countries which adopt west idealogies. If you observe deep, factors like adoption of economic system for growth of society, mass media and social media tech are some huge reasons of how we get the exposure to this whole new west culture. I often see west people getting proud of their idea of indivisualism, just because most Asian countries (for them backward countries) are now adopting it. They believe they chose to be progressive and it's proved by their economy. But it's facile logic.

The only reason Asians are more attracted to west culture is because they find it liberating. Almost all asian cultures are strict, while west cultures are more free. It lacks discipline. If you study Korean, Japanese, Indian etc. cultures, they are all beautiful. But for a modern individual they are hard and harsh. An Individual can't make sense of it, because all he think as an individual. Most asian cultures focus on collectivism, you have to forget yourself and your personal interest. If you like drugs then you won't like a culture which enforce drug restrictions. Almost all these cultures promote collectivism, because this is the true way of happy, healthy society.

Now lets take an simple example - In most rural area, a child never think about -

But none of these factors make him feel bad, if he don't see these possibilities as an option. Infact he will be happy with his current situation, if he learn to think collectively. They define their happiness while being restricted by culture without any realization. It's exactly like how a father or mother is more happy living their lives while choosing to serve their kids instead of their own individual interests.

But now if you expose them to the idea of individualism, then all these people - will start feeling caged. Infact in west, parents see kids as liability and fear reproduction which is a natural phenomenon. Yes, I agree it's not because of just individualism but also because of the economic system.

The point is - most youth want to adopt west culture because they find it's okay to lack morality and being selfish. They love this idea of individualism. For them a kid in rural area is just dumb. He might be dumb, he might lack the sense of choices, But whoever build these cultures was wise.

The problem arise, when people who follow collectivism, lack reasoning and understanding. When a individual throw some rational arguments, they response it with just their beliefs. This is how culture have been embedded in society. Even when culture make sense, it looks like a belief.

In reality that kid have more chance of living a happy life then a modern bugman. By losing collectivism and choosing individualism, we just allow us to start living by our own impulses. We often lose track and purpose.

Sidenote - One good example of cultural beliefs is Marriage. Today some people in west even question the marriage customs, "What's the point of marriage?" But if you think, marriage actually solved one of the biggest issue in society. Especially for women. Without marriage a man can refuse to raise a child, since it's not sure, whose child it is. Imagine a world without marriage, women will alone raise child or start doing abortion. Families won't exist. We will live in a sick individual society. West have higher divorce rate. Because of this individualist attitude, it is again self interest over other's happiness. No one can achieve happiness with this sick mentality. It all start with "If I am not happy...", Since self happiness is the only metric people often ended up making impulsive decisions.

Now this idea of caged might strike you wrong. Oh but, it's like I am blind to truth. I am not a free thinker, I am being manupilated. According to me reality, we can never escape this. Even today we got laws. One can never be truly free. We have hard wired morality in us. If a stranger is drowning in front of you, you got no reason to save him. But you will save him because this is how we think collectively. We can't create healthy society by promoting just rationality.

West society is proud because they are economically strong, but if we cross over the positives with negatives. They are fucked up people. Even the most basic unit of collectivism, aka familes, aren't able to survive. They are leading to the most dark path - Darwinism. which "Survival of the fittest". Notice - this is society, not nature. Society is build by humans. You should highly fear Darwinism. No one support it.

Nash Equilibrilium

We can understand our concept with maths Nash Equilibrilium. Without going too deep, it basically contradict "Adam Smith" idealogy of "Best result come when everyone in group, do best for himself". Instead it says, "The best result come when everyone in group do best for himself and group." Now you might get wrong sense with definition, but let me clear - individual isn't a priority here.

Individual + Group is priority.

In a picture below we can see. 2 Players in hurry and one traffic light. If both "go" at same time, since both just care about their own benefits. They will collide, huge loss of both. This is what individualism is. Now if they both just stop. No one will move ahead. The best result will come if they think as a group and one chose to sacrifice. Collectivism.

Traffic light example

Issues with Collectivism

Now you might think collectivism is better in the way I described it, but it have some problems. But none of these problems create any gap for "Individualism".

I believe these issues can be resolved, by being little flexible with our cultures instead of destroying it. If we truly follow collectivism. I don't think these issues are very huge.

I am a Free and open source software supporter. I love software build by communities without any greed. Just for passion. I love how people just give away fame, attention, money they can earn, because they have high moral values. I have seen people, who are okay to be anonymous and serve. This is what FOSS promotes and people adapt. I love the idea of Free Society not free from society. Collectivism require emotions for others. You can't really serve others without caring for your communities. I love communities. I have seen in years, Communities can be open and better. Free Software industry is a living proof of the power of the community. Here no one is hero. But I often see some people, come up with individual mindset and ask silly question. Like "how will I earn money writing free software?". This is why it's always hard to answer this mindset of "If I work hard, I want to get attention, I want fame, I want money, 100 'I' later, how can you just do all the hard work in a group project and let entire group be a hero?". It's sad how few generations can get alienated to the idea which is coming from the centuries.


Economic growth isn't everything, What's the point of economic growth if society is lonely and unhealthy. This idea of pumping a GDP number is stupid af. We are literally cutting down the lifetime of this planet. A large number of group in west is not okay with this. Think twice before being like them. Nothing wrong is slow and steady development. Let people get comfortable around one technologies and then introduce with another. Today kids are exposed to these nasty harmful social media spywares. Culture always make sense, it protect, it wasn't designed by bunch of greedy invidiuals. It's a wisdom. In past few decades, lots of countries lost their culture and traditional values. Like Japan and South Korea.

But my rant can't change the truth, some of you might make a small change in your life. But greed exploitation of human being, being immoral becoming a norm, introduction of technogy. Dude just GET READY FOR REAL WORLD CYBERPUNK. I am glad, We FOSS lovers started preperation, very long time ago. So we can survive better.

Free society not free from society.

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