Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today's Random Wilde

[T]he recognition of private property has really harmed Individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led Individualism entirely astray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know that the important thing is to be. The true perfection of man lies not in what man has, but in what man is. Private property has crushed true Individualism, and set up an Individualism that is false. It has debarred one part of the community from being individual by starving them. It has debarred the other part of the community from being individual by putting them on the wrong road and encumbering them.... The industry necessary for the making of money is also very demoralising. In a community like ours, where property confers immense distinction, social position, honour, respect, titles, and other pleasant things of the kind, man, being naturally ambitious, makes it his aim to accumulate this property, and goes on wearily and tediously accumulating it long after he has got far more than he wants, or can use, or enjoy, or perhaps even know of. Man will kill himself by overwork in order to secure property, and really, considering the enormous advantages that property brings, one is hardly surprised. One's regret is that society should be constructed on such a basis that man has been forced into a groove in which he cannot freely develop what is wonderful, and fascinating, and delightful in him in which, in fact, he misses the true pleasure and joy of living.

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

I am always hesitant to identify with individualism, because the word's meaning has, largely through incessant repetition, been made synonymous with "anarcho"-capitalism. People understood to be individualists draw the battle lines between public and private sector entities, with the tacit assumption that the latter are "individuals." The former, of course, are often referred to as "collectives," in what seems to me to be a mild form of red-baiting, given the history of the use of the term "collective" by the communist movements. I draw the battle lines between individuals (which I understand as individual human organisms) and what I term "institutions." I understand the latter category to include governments, businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, places of worship, the family and perhaps other organizational forms.

You seem to be a technoprogressive of some sort, so I'm sure you find my equating "individual" with "human organism" to be short-sighted and obsolete. I have been struggling with such issues as how to broaden the definition of "individual" without losing its central significance as the non-institutional element in the human experience. Have you any suggestions?