Being an individual in a crowd – We learn and evolve as better individuals
Writing about web page https://www.spectator.co.uk/2014/08/individualism-is-dead/
Who is a Misanthrope?
A new word which made me look up the dictionary. I thank the author and the magazine. I learned something new today.
The Wikipedia states that,
' Misanthropy is a general hatred, distrust and the contempt for human species or human beings'.
A person who holds such feelings is a misanthrope or misanthropist.
Is there a misanthrope in all of us?
Maybe a tiny bit or maybe not all.
It was comforting to read that individualism is still intact. I am talking about the article from 'The Spectator' titled 'the rise of the crowd culture- a generation scared to do anything alone. You can find the link above.
The author presented a very good argument against the "crowd culture" that is ubiquitous in today's myriad social media systems. Where are the individual and individuality gone? is the question that the author asks throughout the article. A satirical approach and write up on the modern day British youth and their crowd behavior with a good dose humor added throughout.
The style of writing was engaging and cheerful. This post is not a critique of the article. In fact, I agree with the author in many ways. But then, I would like to add some points which would make it more wholesome and nourishing for all of us.
True. In a day and age, when we see crowds thronging everywhere and it would be natural for us to assume that individuality has come to an end and the importance of the individual is dead.
This is not the case. There is a big difference between showing your individuality and being part of a crowd. They compliment each other and synergistic. By being individuals in a crowd, we learn and we begin to evolve as better human beings.
Our offices and work environments are very collaborative these days. The millennial (The young crowd who have born between 1982 -2004) have adopted the collaborative mindset as their own. By being collaborative, it is not about "having to put up with your colleagues" in the office space. It is about shared understanding among people to accomplish mutual goals.
We can still retain our own individuality, have our own personal characteristics and preferences. I think this is desired.
What is required is to just do our part. Contribute to the entire process, in whatever small way we can. An interesting adage " The whole is greater than the sum of the parts" excellently summarizes this. Please read an article on the same topic about Office crowd collaboration and how we can motivate the nerds, here.
Office collaboration and corporate social media have huge office crowds as members. They interact daily with it. It would be ironical to say, that there is no space to express individuality in it.
Nerds, geeks, and managers are all different in their thoughts, interests and working patterns. And yet, they all work together collaboratively. They are the office crowd.
There is the bit of social capital in this crowd behavior as much as personal and private benefits that can be gained as individuals.
Advantages of being crowd is that simple. We may not have all the expertise and knowledge in the whole world. But then, when we work together, as in a productive office crowd we stand to gain from each other.
Another important aspect is that it is only through successive iteration of ideas, there is a new insight. New insight leads to newer ideas and thereby innovation.
Though it might appear that a single genius thought and idea has come from an individual, it is the successive collaboration among like minds and iteration that a path-breaking thought or idea emerges.
50 trillion human cells is a crowd, isn't it?
The human cells are far smarter than the human crowd. In that, they (cells) communicate with other, keep all the cells important so that no individual cell is left out in the evolution process, reward each other based on the good work they do, store excess energy for later use and also help in the suicide or destruction of rogue cells. Interesting isn't it.
As individuals and as a crowd, we are far behind. Through the cells are innate to us. Our minds have much to learn from this crowd behavior. There is no escape from this crowd. It is up to us as collective humanity with collectivist values, we need to evolve to expand ourselves.
There is no lone genius. Human beings are social animals. Our human brain is social. We have evolved in groups. It is only because of our social nature and through our interactions, we have evolved to be the species who we are today.
There are sub-cultures among various crowds and the evolving crowd behavior where individuality is expressed and appreciated. It brings a sense of identity for ourselves, uplifts the morale and creates a sense of purpose that we are part of something bigger, productive and better.