An Exploration of Individualism

In: Social Issues

Submitted By mgrisetajr
Words 1293
Pages 6
An Exploration of Individualism
As Described By Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy In America
By Mario A. Griseta Jr
The classic work Democracy In America by Alexis de Tocqueville has been the source of scholarly pursuit as well as strife within that same community. Through a brief examination of this text, several of Tocqueville’s arguments helped to define, for me, many of the constructs that made America what it was and that have led to what it has become today. Of the many themes and ideas presented by Tocqueville, his thoughts on individualism struck the loudest chord with me.
Tocqueville describes America as a society of joiners because of the fact that it is a country almost entirely composed of immigrants. This, in addition to the pursuit and promise of “equality of conditions” that Americas touted as an unofficial theme, brought citizens from many classes together in closer proximity and relation. Although this sounds like a good thing, and I believe it is, Tocqueville argued that with this blending of social classes and as opportunity increased people would isolate themselves, "bond of human affections is extended and loosened" (p. 483). As people gained wealth and left behind the daily struggle to survive many sought out education and as a result of this enlightenment developed the "habit of always considering themselves in isolation" (p. 484).
This individualism is likened to selfishness by Tocqueville but he is careful to point out that he does not believe that it is the same thing. He does this by described selfishness as "a passionate and exaggerated love of self that brings man to relate everything to himself alone," and individualism as "a reflective and peaceable sentiment that disposes each citizen to . . . withdraw to one side with his family and friends" (p. 482). The way in which individualism caused people to separate from society…...

Similar Documents

An Exploration of India

...INDIA/BharaT International Marketing: An Exploration of India Table of Contents Background P. 3 Geography, Terrain, Land, Climate, & Resources Population Language Literature Religion Leisure and Entertainment P.6 Music Dance Dress Calendar Celebrations National Symbols Dining Business Entertaining Government and Politics p.12 Education Meeting and Greeting p. 13 Giving Gifts Style of Negotiation Communication Economy P. 16 Overview Statistics Labor Force Transportation Culture P. 18 Geert Hofstede Analysis Appearance Behavior Public Conduct Aspects of Business P. 21 Business Relationships Business Statistics Foreign Trade Political Risk India’s Top Companies Reasons to do Business in India References P. 27 Background (13) The official name of India is the Republic of India. The country is bordered by several countries including; Pakistan, China, Nepal, and Bangladesh. India is also surrounded by many bodies of water which include the Arabian Sea, the Laccadive Sea, and the Bay of Bengal (1). India has an extensive history dating back to the Indus Valley civilization of 2nd century B.C. “Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated onto the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the......

Words: 6587 - Pages: 27

Cloning & Individualism

...Results May Vary: Adam Phillips’s Theory of Cloning and The Paradoxical Apotheosis of Individualism Adam Phillips’s essay “Sameness Is All” takes the form of a dialogue with two children to introduce the fantasy of cloning in which everyone is identical. Specifically, Phillips observes that cloning is a “denial of difference and dependence” which leads to a “refusal of need” (92). However, Phillip remains mindful that such fantasy of physical or psychological sameness is implausible as everyone is different - even clones. One then questions the significance of such wanting of sameness, or if the sense of sameness serves any purpose. Using the concept of Self and Other that Joanne Finkelstein examines in “The Self as Sign,” I propose that the sense of sameness that is offered by the illusion of cloning allows one to establish a sense of identity. In a final analysis, I will elaborate on Finkelstein’s arguments on the Self and Other to shed light on the question posed by Philips on whether cloning was the death or apotheosis of individualism, and suggest that cloning has the paradoxical outcome of reinforcing individualism even as one seeks uniformity. Cloning is supposed to lead to conformity and uniformity, the absolute sameness. Phillips argues that cloning is appealing to society because it seems to represent a cure for “the terrors and delights of competition” (90-91). What is interesting, however, is the eventual admission by Phillips that......

Words: 2058 - Pages: 9

Space Exploration.

...SPACE EXPLORATION. Governments spend billions of dollars on expensive space programs. Is it worth spending such substantial amounts in this direction? Space exploration is one of the much talked about branches of science today. This branch of science has developed tremendously over the past few decades. In my opinion, ambitious space programs are extremely useful to humans in many ways; hence each penny invested in it is worth the effort. First of all, it is almost impossible to think of a life these days without depending on modern means of communication like mobile phones, Internet and so forth. These devices will be of no use if the man-made satellites stop working. Needless to say, those satellites are the contribution of the ever-growing space technology. Moreover, various television channels, radio stations and other wireless services also will come to a complete halt without the help of satellites which are orbiting in space. Apart from this, it is only due to space research and exploration that we have immense knowledge about planets, solar system, Milky Way, and even the mystery behind the origin of the universe. The ongoing space research all over the world also tries to solve the puzzle that whether there is any possibility of life or conditions which can sustain life in other planets. In addition, many economically and technologically advanced countries are already pampering the idea of organizing pleasure trips to other planets for their citizens in......

Words: 274 - Pages: 2

Clarity and Individualism

...Cynthia Katasi English 103 Mr. Voth 06/20/2013 Charity and Individualism: In the year of 1841, a writer by the name of Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an essay titled “Self-Reliance” about his philosophy on what it means to be a self-reliant individual through a series of ideas. Emerson’s philosophy is one of optimism and hope, it is based as much on intuition as it is on logic or reason, and it is idealistic in its validation of the inherent worth of each individual form of existence. Two of the ideas that Emerson writes about are “Charity” and “Individualism.” He rejects the idea of charity being an “apology” and wants the individual to live free of shame. According to Emerson, it is better for charitable acts to be genuine rather inconstant. However, he believes that Individualism is important and that people should trust and be true to themselves. Emerson considers charity as an unacceptable institution. According to him, charity is uncharitable and hypocritical. He argues that a man should worry more about his or her own family and community at home than about “black folk a thousand miles off” (4), and he chides people who give money to the poor. “Are they my poor?” he asks. He refuses to support morality through donations to organizations rather than directly to individuals. The concrete act of charity, in other words, is real and superior to abstract or theoretical morality. He sees charity as cloaked with hate and pride, as an untrue institution that serves only......

Words: 1665 - Pages: 7

Individualism as an American Cultural Value

...Individualism as an American Cultural Value Individualism is often viewed as a positive trait in America, suggesting a certain level of personal confidence. American society tends to reward independent thinkers and those who decide autonomously. To this end, individuality has become a value in many American homes. Although individualism is widely received and respected in American culture, it is not as well respected in other cultures. One culture in particular which frowns on individualism is the Asian culture. Thai family values are very different from American family values. In Asian cultures the family unit is highly valued and emphasized, whereas, in American culture, the focus is on individuality. Values derived from the American family all suggest individuality by stressing autonomy and self-sufficiency of the individual members. In contrast, members of the Thai community are taught to embrace a “we” Identity. The individual does not stand alone, but is seen as the product of all generations of his or her family. One of America’s most prominent cultural values, as seen by Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel in her article Individualism as an American Cultural Value, is individuality. She believes that the way Americans are raised teaches them to become independent and individualistic in their everyday lives, unlike in Thai culture. One of the main values in the United States is individualism. Dr. Sponsel faced a cultural shock when she moved to Hawaii. Being born and raised...

Words: 823 - Pages: 4

Exploration

...Exploration Essay 1 When one is trying to give the definition of religion, they find there are many definitions or understandings. As it has been stated by St. Augustine, “Most of us know perfectly well what religion is, until someone asks us to define it.” Religion can be defined as the human quest for, experience of and response to the holy or sacred. It is said the universal human activity expresses itself in three ways: 1) in thought, 2) in action, and 3) in fellowship. In contrast, science uses methods to gain knowledge by testing hypotheses to develop theories through interpretation of the facts or calculations by experiments and can only answer the infinite questions of the universe that can be observed and measured. The relationship between religion and science has been a subject of study for centuries. It has been addressed by philosophers, theologians, and scientists. There have been many diverse perspectives from different regions, cultures and historical periods. Some state there is a conflict between religion and science, others disagree and others offer there is little interaction. Science and religion generally pursue knowledge of the universe using different methodologies. Science acknowledge reason and evidence, while religions include revelation, faith and sacredness. Despite these differences, most scientific and technical innovations prior to the scientific revolution were achieve by societies organized by religious traditions. Much of the scientific...

Words: 723 - Pages: 3

Individualism

...Individualism The Opposite of Collectivism Individualists societies are those in which the interest of the individual prevails over the interest of the group, and in which people are accepted to look after themselves and their imigiate families. Or The habit or principle of being independent & self reliant . “A culture that celebrates individualism & Wealth” Or A Social theory favoring freedom of Action for Individual over collective or state control. :Encouragement has been given to individualism, Free Enterprise, an the pursuit of Profit. Or Synonyms of Individuals are Independence, Self Direction, Self Reliance, free thinking, Free though, Orginallity. Individualism Individual is the moral stance, Political Philosophy, Ideaology, or Social outlook that enfaces the moral worth of the individual. Individualist promote the exercises of one’s m goal’s & desire and so value Independence & Self reliance & evocate that interest of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group, while opposing external interference upon once on interest by society or institutions such as the government. Individualism makes the Individual its focus and so starts “with the fundamental premise that the human individual is of primary importance in the struggle for liberation” Liberalism extentionalism and anarchism are examples of movements that take the human individual as a central unit of......

Words: 1503 - Pages: 7

Individualism

...Cynthia Hum 201 March 16, 2013 Individualism One of the major figures in the movement of Transcendentalism was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson’s essay “Self Reliance” explains his beliefs of individualism, human purpose, the use of nature and social responsibility. Although I don’t believe we will ever have a true understanding of our purpose on earth, I feel that we all need to believe in something in order to feel that we are productive additions to society and hold purpose. In modern day society examples of self reliance, which is close to my heart pertains myself and my brother. I as a single mother faced struggles in order to provide my daughter with the essentials of survival. I worked consistently to provide her with a different upbringing than I had to try and prevent history from repeating itself. I guided her in the direction of fulfilling her education and always told her to be herself. While raising her I am also attending school to further my education which is another example of self reliance. My last example within my own life is my brother whom is gay. The struggles that he has had to face I would not wish for anyone. The hatred and ridicule that he has gone through, only to continue to be him-self and hold his head up proud is admirable. It takes a very strong individual to stay true to your-self while constantly being knocked to the ground and for that I hold the highest respect and admiration to my brothers and the gay community. In Emerson’s......

Words: 1098 - Pages: 5

Individualism

...Individualism is usually discussed against some other term like communitarianism or collectivism.  The extreme version of collectivism is "mass mind" or some other expression like that.  The extreme of individualism is "sociopathy".  Clearly, one wouldn't want to be the extreme of either of these things. Moral individualism is not absolutely good or bad. The moral individualist can stand up against a community's horrible moral standards for example.  The sub-categories of utilitarian individualism and expressive individualism are also not necessarily good or bad.  A utilitarian individualist may invent a cure for a disease to make a profit or to save a loved one -- good still comes from it.  An expressive individualist may give to charity in order to gain a public reputation as a philanthropist. In the context of our own society, a lot of people are concerned with the effects of moral individualism, utilitarian individualism, and expressive individualism -- concerned that these orientations are being lived at the expense of community interests to a point at which they are harmful to collective life. Your task is to be familiar with these terms and have some sense of where you stand with respect to them.  Your advocacy in one direction or other is not my primary concern -- I want you to know the terms and have an attitude with respect to them. Foundation of Ethical Conduct Order – patterned trajectories and relationships that have continuity in time. The......

Words: 7254 - Pages: 30

Career Exploration

...After I made a research into the Career Exploration tool provided for the University of Phoenix, I found out possible careers opportunities available to all of us studying a Master of Accountancy. I completed the process of analyze the Career Areas, Our Recommendation and Specific Occupations tabs provided on it. In every one of those, I found out valuable information that helps me to organize my ideas toward a more clear point in my professional life. All the suggested careers and occupation fit well with the idea I have about my goals, possible jobs and salaries aspiration. The career exploration suggests positions such as auditor, tax analyst, treasure/controller and financial analyst, would be successful position that matched with my skills and expertise. Of course, I still have other requirements I need to pursuit in the educations, general degrees and certification licenses to achieve to assure a final conquer in the area of business and financial operations. All the information I got from the career exploration tool did not surprise me at all. I had in mind all those kind of positions recommended but I had not any idea about the requirements to get into and neither the possible salaries. I really appreciate that I have that tool in hand. The results given to me after pass by all the steps made me feel confident and add force to all those ideas I have had about my professional future. Before pass for this experience, I had idea about what I wanted, now I found a......

Words: 329 - Pages: 2

Individualism and Postmodernism

...old barriers of time and space, transformed our patterns of work and leisure and accelerated the pace of change. * One effect of this rapid social change is to make life less predictable Individualism thesis * Giddens and Beck: * Argue that class gender and family are losing importance * Traditional roles prevented choice in life courses * Post modern society – no longer any fixed roles to follow – ‘disembedded’ from traditional family life * Beck (1992): ‘do it yourself biography’ * Giddens (1992) greater choice and equality 1. Contraception-sex and intimacy-replaced reproduction as reason for relationships 2. Women are independent – greater opportunities and feminism * Basis of marriage and family has changed, external factors no longer keep people together * ‘the pure relationship’ * no longer based on laws norms values or tradition – relationships now based on choice * exists to satisfy each partners needs * same sex partners: Siddens idea that s/s couples are able to redefine the family * the negotiated family: * Ulrich Beck (1992) * Beck argues we now live in a ‘risk society’ – people more choice * Nuclear patriarchal family undermined. As a result of two reason: greater equality and greater individualism - Therefore, there is a new type of family * Beck and Beck-Oernshiem (1995) – negotiated family = people negotiate roles * The zombie family: * The family is now dead *......

Words: 335 - Pages: 2

Space Exploration

...synthesis Essay Is space exploration really worth the cost? This is the inevitable question we must face when deciding how much of our tax dollars and the federal government's dollars are spent on space exploration versus things such as education, social security, medicare and health. Although space exploration could eventually make a difference in the way we live our lives and life as we know it here on Earth, we should be focused on the things that could change our lives now. Things like a cure for cancer, and a cure for HIV and AIDS. Our money needs to stop being spent on space exploration, and be put towards something that’s been proven to benefit the people of our nation. It would not be wrong to say that maybe one day space exploration could provide us with something miraculous here on earth, but in the meantime the extensive amount of money being spent on space exploration should stay here where we can make a difference now. In February of 2006, Margaret Mclean published an article on a web page dedicated to ethics called To Boldly Go: Ethical Considerations for Space Exploration. The article stated, “almost $17 billion will fly into NASA’s coffers with around $5.3 billion dedicated to space exploration” (source E). I don’t know about you, but to me this seems like an awful lot of money to be spending on something that has no supporting evidence of benefiting the United States and its people. Our government is responsible for how our tax money is spent and it is......

Words: 723 - Pages: 3

Power of Individualism

...Power of Individualism Impartial fulfillment of the class BA 332 Organizational Behavior Present to: Mrs. Y. M. Johnson Submitted by: Emily F. White Institution: Galilee College Date: Thursday 21st January, 2016 Individualism may be one of the most essential trademarks a person can have. Great individuals like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, so on and so forth have created a significant difference in the world and have demonstrated their individualism. The power of individualism is a characteristic of taking a stand to make a difference which is going to be accomplished and fulfilled once that individual starts thinking outside of the box and preparing to take that journey alone on making that difference. Carl Jung’s theory is that self-realized individual's very existence presupposes a positive relationship with the collective. The individual lends himself to express the subconscious aspirations of the collective of his time, giving conscious expression to the needs and aspirations of the society through his actions. The individual is indispensable for human accomplishment and for the development of the society. Working at a junior and senior high school, I realized that some of the teenagers do not express their individualities. Being different to them means being placed in the following categories: an outcast, loser or unpopular. Being similar to teenagers does not appear to bother them especially when it involves impressing their peers.......

Words: 356 - Pages: 2

The English Exploration vs the Spanish Exploration

...The New World known today as America is a product of the meeting of two worlds, two different social, political and economic environments. America remained hidden for thousands of years and unknown to European explorers. Its discovery consisted of a clash of cultures, languages, traditions and history. Although they bear a similarity as they were both initially sponsored by monarchs in search of the Northwest Passage, the differences between the Spanish (1492 – 1548) and English (1584-1648) explorations are very clear. During the XV century the first marine expeditions that allowed having a better understanding of the world, were made. The major European explorers that were part of the Spanish and English explorations were Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, Nunez Balboa, Ferdinand Magellan, Juan Ponce De Leon, Hernan Cortes, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando De Soto, Francisco Coronado, and Sir Francis Drake. An important similarity on the explorations was that they were in search of the Northwest Passage , a route that the Far East could be achieved (India) from Europe traveling to the west. Other similarities included are the first voyages were made by Italian explorers and sponsored by monarchs. Christopher Columbus and John Cabot were from Italy. Columbus’ voyages were approved by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile of Spain. John Cabot received approval by Henry VII of England. These are the similarities, but now we will see how clear the differences were. ...

Words: 1348 - Pages: 6

Individualism Contrast and Comparison to Collectism

...Individualism versus Collectivism Aungee Stevenson Beulah University Marketing MBA Professor Scott September 24, 2011 Individualism vs Collectivism America when remembered by its history was a place built upon freedom and was the logic of vast opportunities within a new country with innovation as its' first name. For more than 100 years America has been priding itself upon engaging and welcoming people from all over the world to its population by the very idea of individualism because the principle of the subject is the foundation of its' reasoning. As time has brought about changes that America never could have imagined somehow America has reverted itself slowly to its ' origin just as a clock would dial back the hands of time, capturing the original reason for fighting freedom, no individualism. Therefore, it is necessary to say that collectivism is back because it was never completely out of the picture but just waiting for greed to resurrect it and give it a new body. Individualism and collectivism are two items that pose major concerns in the world that we live today and can be contrasted based on the dilemma of disbanding one for the other including the thoughts of different races and their interpretations of the world today. Individualism holds that the individual is the primary unit of reality and the ultimate standard of value. This view does not deny that societies exist or that people benefit from living in them, but it sees society......

Words: 1120 - Pages: 5