[Paleopsych] individuality

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 8 18:34:49 UTC 2005

>>In his contribution, William Connolly argues in 
similar terms that the self-confident assertion of
democratic individuality must unavoidably be played
out against a background of repressed cultural
differences, while Benjamin Barber defends
multiculturalism against Kateb's charge that
identity-defining communities are inherently

--I suspect those who are able to work well with a
variety of others will have more economic
opportunities in the near and long term future.
Repressed cultural differences can play out in very
different ways, depending on whether the indivuduals
involved view differences as a threat (common in
children raised in repressive families) or as an
opportunity to cross-pollinate, gather ideas and
capitalize on differences in a mutually beneficial
way. Music depends on this cross-fertilization of
subcultures, and those who view cultural differences
as a kind of evolving musical interplay may find life
a great deal more fruitful than those who react to
differences by withdrawing into like-minded groups
that have less interaction with others. Snobbery may
be effective as a personality defense, for a while,
but it leads to social impoverishment and isolation.

>>For American liberals, the final lesson suggested 
by these criticisms must be deeply discomforting. It
is that unabridged individuality inescapably involves
serious losses of democratic equality.<<

--Depends on what you mean by "unabridged". It's quite
possible, and very rewarding, to maintain one's
individuality without forgetting that there is a
larger context and culture. It is when individuality
is taken to extremes, as in some children of
fundamentalist parents who rebel in dramatic ways,
that it becomes a problem. In that case, it is an
outward manifestation of an inner polarity that
corresponds to family roles of authoritarian, "good
child" and black sheep. Families with less dramatic
rifts between roles are likely to produce people who
are better at handling difference and benefiting from
the interplay of subcultures.


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