07 November 2010

Modern Plague: Individualism

Everyone knows that too much of a good thing is always a bad thing. The proper gentleman always avoids excesses. Avoidance of excess is the underlying principle of Franklin's virtues. One such "good thing" which we seem to have too much of to-day is individualism.

It goes without saying that individualism in and of itself is hardly a plague. Quite the contrary, individualism is one of the pillars of dandyism. However, it can be taken too far, and when it does it is never good. This sort of behaviour often results in undervaluing (and thus crimes against) society and community as a whole, disregard for etiquette and social mores, lack in decorum, inappropriate attire, and counterculture. These things are not only lacking in taste and undesirable, but also dangerous in the grand scheme of things. They cause a rapid break down of culture and social identity.

In short, while it is important to be oneself and to have levels of independence and sense of one's own identity, one must not get selfish and remember that one is also part of a community. Culture is something of great value which must not be diminished and following etiquette and mores is a means of respecting those who share the community with us. It is a sign of true maturity when one has embraced the society in which one lives. Remember that if one is trying too hard to be oneself, one is not actually being oneself at all. Flashy displays of "individualism" contrary to the values of the community is a cry for attention, not a true representation of oneself.

1 comment:

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