Tag Archives: individualism

Individualism: Healthy vs Unhealthy Varieties

I’ve been thinking about individualism, and how there are healthy versions and unhealthy versions. For instance…

Healthy: If you can take care of something yourself, do it, so you don’t have to rely on someone else to do those things. Self-reliance is valuable, but it’s only one tool in the toolbox, and you recognize situations where cooperating with other people is the better option.

Proverbially, teaching a man to fish helps him develop self-reliance.

Example: I’ll make my own masks out of material I already have.

Unhealthy: Don’t ask for, accept, or offer help, because if you or the other person can’t do it on their own, they’re less worthy a person. Self-reliance is treated as an end in itself, and cooperation with others is inherently suspect.

And why would you teach a man to fish? He should know how to do that by now!

And definitely don’t trust someone who wants to teach you to fish. What the hell do they know?

Example: Why should I wear a mask to help someone else? Whether they get sick is their business, not mine. (Even if they get the virus from me. Which they won’t, because I’m not going to get sick, even though I’m not taking any precautions, because I know better.)

One of these attitudes can help us deal with a pandemic virus. The other will help the virus deal with us.