III

What is the purpose of society for individual?

C. Pissarro. Boulevard Montmartre: Afternoon, Sunshine. Maximus&Magnus

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6 thoughts on “III

  1. Above all the purposes society has to give a man is a word of self-realization as “fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one’s character or personality”. They say that he who realizes his self, comes to know the true essence – unalloyed essence of life with a variety of feelings floating around in everyday life.

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    • So, if I understand you correctly, one can say that one of the main purposes of society is to provide man with the space and opportunity of self-realization? Then one can ask, should society directly help the individual towards this, or simply provide an arena for it, leaving the individual to find the path for oneself? In any case, it is fair to consider how such a purpose correlates to the social structures of any society we have today.

      It is interesting to note that you, and I guess most others, interpreted the question in an ideal way: which purpose should society serve for the individual. For if a society does not serve this purpose well, can one say that it is the purpose of the society? One could equally well have interpreted the question as asking which purposes do societies serve for the individual, or for which purpose(s) have we created societies.

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      • The deeper a question is, the more answers (the more interpretations) it has. To have “the space and opportunity of self-realization”, I do consider it as the purpose for our society has been based. Providing a “stage”, one can give a good performance, I think. In each of us is something unique that may be essential but with tighten possibilities one cannot find it out.

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        • If we speak about the ideal purpose I would very much like to agree with Michaela. These are not only the “tighten possibilities” which can be detrimental, but also redundant possibilities or a trivial lack of motivation. And in society which is not aware of its ideal purpose the “self-realization” will always be the last task in the list.

          I also think that the direction which the discussion has taken shows that we are inclined to express our desires even if we are not asked about them directly. And here, at this blog, we want our readers to feel free about expressing such desires – since during our writing we more and more come to conclusion that the desires are the foundation of all the social structures. So by consciously expressing them we want to liberate them from the reason’s prison.

          I enjoy the word “stage” here. Let us imagine that the stage is free and waiting. What are we going to perform there? And why do we need an audience?

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          • The only role I have been given so far has been my inner “self” performed in different social emotional situations. I would act like true “I”.

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        • Indeed, there are many ways to look at this question. To me it seems more natural to think that humans have not formed society for any conscious reason, but societies have naturally developed as a result of our social drive. It is simple in our nature to create social structures. Think of it this way: most people do not for any conscious reason decide to have a relationship with another person – relationships usually occur as two people are driven towards each other, not by conscious choice but by some inner force that we call love. Similarly, there is perhaps such an inner force that drives us towards society, albeit less obvious and powerful.

          Then, societies are first and foremost formed to satisfy such natural drives and needs of Man, and such drives seem to be more basic than a need for “self-realization”. How many people, perhaps primarily young ones, have not come to feel that they do not belong with their friends, family or community; that they are not themselves when in certain circles? If a group or circle is so detrimental for finding one’s true “I”, then why did one become part of these groups in the first place? Clearly, there are other forces that drives us – and binds us – to society.

          If we allow ourselves to speculate freely, there seems to be conflicting parts of humans. A social drive makes form groups or join groups; to feel attached to them. And the more attached we are, the more conforming we seem to get. Not only this, but we also demand conformity; the stronger a group is connected, the similar are the members’ ways of thinking and behaving. These drives seem to suppress self-realization – to tighten the possibilities.

          But, as mentioned, there are those who do not feel themselves in the groups around them. There are also drives to be oneself – the “I”. In most societies throughout history, the social drives seems to have dominated over the individual drives. This may simply be because self-realization is something one necessarily has to find out alone, or it may really be that these drives are, in most people, weaker.

          The question is how society can cater to both the individual and the social aspects of Man. On the one hand it is from the unconscious drive to conformity in groups that society gets its security and structure; it is what gives us similar views of morality, justice and law within a group. On the other hand, too much stress on conformity drowns the individual. Furthermore, can one realize one’s true self without strong social bonds?

          There are several other questions here. Can we separate between social and individual drives? Is the “I” purely individual in essence, or is it influenced and formed partly by society?

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