Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Individualism versus Egotism

Individualism is about not being a slave to every passing whim, either physiological or cultural.* Egotism is about wanting to act on those impulses, regardless of the long-term consequences for yourself or others. [To quote Goethe “Who will teach me what I must shun?
Or must I go where the impulse drives?”]

We are encouraged very much indeed to be egotistical. We are rarely trained or encouraged to be individuals, and that makes an already difficult and scary undertaking that much harder…
There is a particularly American notion that individuals exist most strongly away from the Oppressiveness of Society- very much based on Rousseau’s Noble Savage. This is, of course, bollocks.
*that is a false distinction you could write a library about, but Life is Short, and so is my readers’ attention span.

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