In discussing the issue of ideology in the context of ethics applied in a society we see two very different ideas; the idea of individualism and the idea of collectivism. There seems to be anincongruity between the supporters of these concepts—they quarrel and disagree among themselves. But I think what is extremely important and comes as a winner is individualism. I think the so called collectivists have a very confused mind and anarchic attitude; they place the cart before the horse.A society is made up of diverseindividuals. The individual good always comes first―to go ahead and establish the so called ‘common good’. This ‘common good’ is the summation of identical aspirations of several individuals; this is called the common good. Without individual good there is no common good.The individuals must have agreeing aspiration and ideas in order to create the common good; but, despite the disparity in aspirations and interests among individuals—there can never be a common good; because, there is no common ground; a union which does not place the interest and aspiration of the individual is a dictatorship in disguise. The individual good is superior and comes before the cart so to speak.Thus, in ethics when we establish a society it must be based on individuals; not collectives or a mixed and confused system of individualism and collectivism that as we are seeing in Chinese systems of government today of ‘hands on and hands off system’;which is even worse and toxic to health and existence of the individual than hands on policy of collectivism; these system will create a society of mad men; than collectivism could ever achieve. Thus, our only option is to go into the grass roots level and start with the individual good; we must ask: what do individuals want? What is in their best interest? The question should never be: What do leaders want? Even if they are not capable of choosing for themselves; we must not be autocratic; but follow the four steps of the thesis of this article that I will discuss below.We shall aggregate people who have identical aspirations in order to help them create the common good. It must be noted that social connectedness is also very important and as we discussed in social hedonism; it can be a source of health and happiness as well as a source of disease and despair if like aspiration is not aggregated with its own kind. The source of health and happiness in a collective is the aggregation of individuals which share the same aspirations and interests; they will get along just fine; complementing each other with mental, emotional, physical, social and economic well being and the source of disease and despair in the collective is the aggregation of individuals who share different aspirations and interests causing mental, emotional, physical, social and economic distress for each other. This is the reason that I said earlier the individual good always comes first; we must consult it. It is the pillar on which the so called collective is erected. Thus, in order to have a successful, blissful and happy society we need first to understand the concept of individual dignity; second individual empowerment; third individual selection or consent and fourth,individual self-regulation.
First, there is this perpetual cycle of derision directed at the individual in history where tyrants rise and be autocrats abusing the individual and creating more suffering on the planet. But, for those who have watched diligently they will realize that the source of autocracy is the negligence of the above mentioned four important concepts in the thesis of this essay. This perpetual cycle of violence and suffering as is the case in autocratic countries is due to the neglect to dignify the individual as a sentient being and bestow upon him the benefit of the doubt. The individual has been derided and belittled leading to his subjugation and stupefaction; his stupefaction brings about anarchy behavior and anarchy triggers autocratic behavior by leaders. Thus, we have cycle of perpetual derision (of the individual), subjugation and stupefaction (of the individual)leads to ignorance (of the individual), then ignorance leads to nihilistic behavior (of the individual), nihilistic behavior of the individual triggers autocratic attitude (by leaders) which always leads to conflict and bloodshed.Thus, the error lies in the leadership of societies they immediately become autocratic when they observe the individual out of control and stagnate him in a state of ignorance; which perpetuate even more violence and instability; pouring more water to the ignited magnesium; the cycle just goes on and on.
The second step after individual dignity is individual empowerment; which means the education and sophistication of the individual in order for him to understand his rights and obligations; do’s and don’ts. Leaving him be―as he is; to go through several ideas and concepts in several topics in human civilization so that he can acquire wisdom; letting him read and write on several topics; then, he will be ready to make sapient choices in his behavior and stay away from nihilistic and autocratic attitudes. He must be informed that his interest lies in respecting the rules and regulations that he choose to promulgate with others for the sake of his own interest.He must be free from psychological,emotional,physical, social and economic coercion to bury his face in books and establish friendship with intelligent people to be the wisest man on earth. He must philosophize, study other ideologies, go through all human knowledge,and ponder on philosophy in the pursuit of metaphysical and ethical truths which will change his personality benefitting him and all of society.
The third step is individual choice; it does not matter how educated a man is—he always has choice to do evil and do well. Thus, he must be encouraged always to do well; because that is also in his interest that he will receive from others by the same token. This step also includes choosing what he participates in; in a social contract with others; which is extremely critical in combatting autocracy and the perpetual cycle of violence that I talked about above. This is the climacteric point; where the society either transcends into success or descends into chaos; because unwilling participation of individuals is always enforced by the nihilistic altitude of leaders; which is a simmering concoction of a rebellion (on the behalf of individuals) which will lead to conflict, war, assassinations, and all hell will descend. All because of the very important concept of ―neglecting consent. Leaders might pride themselves as the upper dogs with an armed army to stifle any dissent but they should realize that they themselves are mortal beings open for attack by their disgruntled fellow citizens; a society established without individual section or consent and his aspirations will descend into nihilism—which does not benefit either the leaders or the members of the society.
The fourth step is individual self-regulation—which means that the individual has been informed that the laws and regulations in a society that he established stand for his own good; which of course he can alter any time by consensus with others.He has been dignified in the first step; empowered to know everything and made extremely smart even to assume leadership in the second step; allowed to make a choice and establish a common good and rules that he voted for with his own kind of individuals;and learn from his choices in the third step. Now, the last step is the fourth step―he must obey the rules and way of life that he choose to establish with his identical fellow individuals who share common interest and grounds for that moment in time; but still the rules are always mutable by common consensus of the members. Rules stand for the benefit of the individuals who set them up; it is for their own interest that they established a society of whatever kind so that they can acquire mental, emotional, physical, social and economic hedonism by doing so; thus, the rules stand to guarantee this interest;, the individuals must know their rights and obligations and self-regulate to sustain the individual good that brought them together. The motivation that they acquire from dignity, empowerment, and most importantly consent will lead them to respect the laws of their society and systems.
Therefore, to conclude my writing we must always understand that it is the individuals and their consent which establish any society; if they have mental , emotional, physical, social and economic leanings towards one another; it only here that a social contract or social engagement could exist.Individual dignity, empowerment, selection (consent), and finally self-regulation (to abide by the laws that he himself choose) are the foundations which establish a solid, stable, vibrant, health and mirthful social systems. Doing away with these consecutive four steps and squashing the individual for the so called “collective” is putting the cart before the horse as I said above and it will create a calamity in societies. It is the product of mental confusion and nihilistic mentality which does not benefit anyone. Thus, the individual good is the foundation for the common good not viseversa.