Thursday, December 11, 2014

Individualism vs Community in American Society

In American society individualism is prized.  People are not satisfied with being mediocre, and strive to differentiate themselves from the rest of the community.  Those who choose to blend in, to be a faceless name in society, are looked at as meek and uninspiring.  Current American society fails to balance the needs of the community with the needs of individuals.  American society values the desires of individual members more highly then the desires of the community.

While Americans want to be part of a group, the collective aspect of a group stifles the individuals of the group.  Whether consciously or subconsciously Americans desire to have a specific, unique role within the group.  Whether that role is leading the group, being the voice of reason, the silent observer, or the linchpin, Americans crave a sense of individuality even when working in groups. 

This is often why when people work in groups they divide up the tasks.  This division of work divides the group once again into individuals, even if they are working towards a common goal.

In a perfectly balanced American society the government would work cohesively to work towards increasing the quality of life for all Americans.  Unfortunately in the present day the American government is anything but cohesive.  This is because a select few individuals desires are weighted more heavily then the desires of the community. 

An example of this is the Republican party.  They believe that the desires of CEO's and companies posses far more importance then the desires of the average people, or what the community needs.  This pro-individualism mentality divides the country, often causing strife between fractions.

Americans are self driven people.  In American society people tend to think of themselves first then to others.  This individualistic attitude differs vastly from community based societies.

In China -and much of Asia- family and community are an essential part of life.  An individual strives to succeed to honor their family.   It comes as no surprise then that elders are much more respected in these community based societies then in America.  In America more emphasis is placed on foraging one's own path, away from one's family.

Even though being a part of a group is important part of succeeding in America, being an individual is vital.  American society upholds those who are unique, who creates the trends instead of following them.  These people are inspiration in the eyes of society.  Americans don't just want to be normal, they want to be special, they want to be an individual.

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