Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Fallacy of Rugged Individualism

The idea of "Rugged Individualism" is something that all of us as human beings can understand. Its meaning relates to many things we have either been taught or have learned over the course of our lives. From a very young age we are taught to focus on our strengths and abilities to consistently improve ourselves, while at the same time to work on areas in which we are weak. We are taught to be independent, responsible, and to think for ourselves.

Being unique is something that we can all relate to in one way or another. You may not be the type of person who strives to stand out or be different, but at the same time you typically don’t want to be classified or seen by others as being just like everyone else. Rugged individualism also leads us to think about how each of us chase power in our lives in some way. It could be as big as wanting to own a company or as simple as wanting to buy something you find value or pleasure in. The fact that we all have needs and wants that differ from others in itself makes us individual.

The fallacy of rugged individualism is that even the most individualistic person needs others. It only explains half of what we know to be true. While it explains that we possess the need to be unique, our call to power, and the feeling of being whole, it omits the need we have for other people. We base the level of success we have in life on the success of others. We use other people to make us whole, as they fill in the things we lack in our lives.

More importantly, it raises an even bigger problem, one that we have all witnessed in our own lives or in the lives of others. It often times will lead us hide our weaknesses. Rugged individualism in theory can make us pretend that we are “doing just fine” when reality everything around us is falling apart. The other issue it causes is the feeling that we have to try to “uphold an image” that doesn’t allow others to see the truth in what is actually happening in our lives.

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