The Fallacy of Rugged Individualism
Each and every one of us learned the basic ways of life through different experiences, environment, or unique patterns. The process of human development starts from the second we were born. As babies we learn to express our feelings through language. As little children we pick up tactics from our parents. We learn to think for ourselves, step out of certain stereotypes and learn to navigate through the world. The human goal in life is to become whole. We go through experiences and different moments in life that give us lessons to learn and grow from. If we want to grow we must work on our weaknesses.
The fallacy of rugged individualism it that even the most independent and individualist person needs others. But in reality, we can never be completely whole. We cannot be perfect. It is true that we are each unique creatures and we strive to be different or stand out.
A phrase often used by Herbert Hoover during his time as president. Hoovers idea of “rugged individualism” was freedom from government intervention and focus on individual entrepreneurship, enterprise and volunteerism. The idea that each individual should be able to help him or her self-out.
Carl Jung a psychologist named this goal of human development “individuation” The process of human development is one of becoming fully individual: separate, from our family, our society, and to learn to think for ourselves.
Because we cannot ever be completely self sufficient, independent beings, the idea of rugged individualism encourages us to fake it. It encourages us to hide our weaknesses and failures. To be ashamed of our failures. It drives us to the attempt to be super human.
We are in desperate need of a new ethic of “soft individualism”. An understanding of individuals, which teaches, we cannot be truly ourselves until we are able to share freely the things we most have in common. Rugged individualism leads us to hide our weaknesses, imperfections, our failures, and our fears. But in reality we need to start embracing our flaws and understanding that in one another. Soft individualism allows our self and others to knock down our ego and develop a sense of unity within one another.