Is the individual a direct function of the society or is society a direct function of the individual? The answer to this question will determined how a society functions, as well as the “logical conclusion” of the society with respect to the life or death of the denizens within it. That is, depending on which format we choose, the conclusion will either be a perpetual realization of freedom and life for humanity, or humanity’s destruction.
The conclusion, you see, is inevitable; we should not waste our time trying to think of ways we might prevaricate around the necessary end to the premise. One way or another, and sooner or later, the logical conclusion of a given premise will be realized; and in this case, the metaphysical premise will dictate the outcome, truly life or death, of the individual–of the society of individuals–which holds it. The premises accepted and employed in a society with respect to the ontology of man is, in fact, what defines reality for him.
Never mind the specious logic of the Objectivists or the Empiricists…there is no such thing as an “objective reality OUTSIDE of man”…at least, not in the idealistic sense they describe, where the environment “outside” of human beings possesses its own self-contained definitions, purposes, and relevancy. Another self-evident problem with the notion of “objective reality outside of man” is that it thus implicitly avers that man is not, in fact, objectively real; and by this they man that man’s consciousness is inherently subjective–not possessing the inherent capability of ascertaining the “objective truth” of the material universe “outside of him” (though they will claim otherwise–that man IS able to apprehend reality via his senses; an impossible notion given that, according to the root idea, there is an absolute distinction between reality “outside” of man and man’s conscious mind (presumably, the place where his senses end and his consciousness begins)). Which…if you believe this, any Objectivist or Empirical assertion you hold is irrelevant by definition. If you are not objectively real, then any notion to which you ascribe has no functional bearing on, well…anything.
Contrary to this, I assert that all of reality (what is real in the meaningful, relevant sense to MAN, which is the only sense which matters, because man is, absolutely, and only, HIMSELF; for that is his context, period) is a function of how we define man. Either man is fundamentally his own singular existential reference…meaning, your conscious awareness of SELF is the absolute and immutable frame of reference for your existence, and for all that you can claim is real (it must be real TO YOU, or it cannot be defined as real at all), or your awareness is a direct function of something “outside” of you…some other absolute and immutable frame of reference, like the “laws of physics/nature which govern”, or “God’s divine/sovereign Will/Plan”. In the societal sense, speaking of geopolitical nation states, the immutable frame reference and compelling force is the authoritative mandate of the appointed proxies of the Collective abstraction, which may be referred to as the “common good”; the “people”; the “nation”; the “tribe”; the “country”; or some social demographic (“minorities”, “disadvantaged”, “business elite”, “aristocracy”, “middle class”, “workers”, etc.).
Every person has, I submit, in his or her mind, already conceded the metaphysical “cause and effect” relationship in one direction or the other. Every human being who has reached awareness–who possesses the ability to articulate a distinction between himself and his surroundings–has embraced either the idea of the individual as a function of the group/collective/society or the the group/collective/society as a function of the individual. Another way of stating it, is that every individual has conceded to the idea that he or she is a direct extension of his/her surroundings–his/her group affiliation (and these affiliations can be defined and categorized in many ways, but in this case, I mean “society”, or “nation”, etc.) or vice versa.
The ostensible, and completely spurious compromises people make as they integrate the mutually exclusive dichotomy (SELF vs. Collective Society) are nothing more that equivocations upon the inherent and necessary contradictions present as individuals attempt existence within the social structures of a collection of human beings all governed by a central ruling authority which possesses, above all, and at its very irreducible foundation, the source of all its power, a monopoly of force (violence) to compel individual outcomes in service to what it propagandizes as “the good of the many”, but what is in reality simply its own power and wealth. Because, you see, in reality there can be nothing else to which the monopolizers of force can compel the citizens. Its all about the logical and unavoidable conclusion, the idea of which I began the article, proceeding from the metaphysical/ontological premise: “what is man?”. I will explain this in greater detail later in the article.
Both the fundamental individualist and the fundamental collectivist will entertain various contradictions in a lifelong, but futile, effort to avoid the inevitable destruction of a society ruled by a government intent on serving the “common good”, which is purely an abstraction and does not actually exist in any material or effectual sense, which is why such a government must eventually destroy the very individual citizens it claims to represent. For example:
The law-abiding individualist will pay his taxes, obey stop lights even when there is no one else around, consent to warrant-less inspections and interrogations at sobriety, immigration, and public safety checkpoints; he will vote for his rulers in an ostensible display of democratic “freedom”, applauding this brazenly collectivist activity as a patriotic obligation to which all Americans are bound in order to honor the altruistic sacrifice of the Founding Fathers. He will pledge allegiance to an anthropomorphized rectangular piece of cloth and dye, asserting irrationally that it somehow has a distinct and inherent value apart from his own individual presence in society, not understanding or not admitting that any such symbol only has meaning insofar as individuals find perpetual and absolute value to and for themselves in the society it represents, and that it literally has no relevancy beyond this. He will consent to being pressed into military service for the sake of protecting his “nation” as though the nation has any value for him once its rulers demand that he kill another human being in service to it, or to openly and actively support those who do, under threat of violence (incarceration, seizure of property). He will fund schools for the masses because he accepts that it is in the best interest of “society” if its “individual” citizens–again, ignoring the contradiction–are educated so that they, collectively, can compete with the rest of the geopolitical collectives of the world. He will say “yes” when asked if he is an American, or a Unites States citizen, when crossing borders, as though such information is fundamentally relevant to anything at all except the irrelevant and irrational idea of abstraction (society/country/nation) as reality—as though being a direct function of a group does anything but contradict his own unique and distinctive existence. Yes, the individualist will do all of these things because that’s what a good, law-abiding individual does. He concedes the contradiction that being a good individual means complying with the strictures of society as dictated by the purveyors of force (rulers) who compel him in service to the “community”; which he also understands (and yet implicitly denies), being an individualist, has no relevance beyond his own unique existential frame of reference: himSELF.
The collectivist, on the other hand, will also speak of the virtues of the vote. The good, modern American neo-Marxist known as today’s democratic party affiliate, will vehemently deny that our society cannot possibly be totalitarian, you see, or inherently destructive to the very essence of individuality, because each one of us gets a vote. Each one of us gets a “say”. Indeed this Marxist will even declare that it is our individual duty to vote our “free” conscience for those who will rule the collective, and force us into compliance with its mandates which are dictated by the monopolizers of force, even though at the very root metaphysical/ontological level, the collective can have no actual interest in the individual beyond their forced sacrifice to its abstract ideal. And because we have the “right” to vote, and the “right” to speak, there must be, so the loose logic goes, inherent deference to the individual amongst the collective of society.
The collectivist will respect the rights of everyone to choose their own way, to employ their own expressions of morality and truth, so long as it poses no relevant or substantive affront to the epistemological and moral plumb line of the “common good”, as he arbitrarily defines it He will tell us that each one of us can do whatever we want, and assemble and discourse with whomever we choose, so long as we don’t “discriminate” against whatever societal group the collectivist has deemed “special” or “protected” according to their subjective criteria. In America the special groups which are seen as those to which a forced deference must be compelled by the ruling authorities have ranged anywhere from the business elites and early American aristocrats, military service members, and various Christian denominations, to the poor, the racial minorities, various non-Christian religious groups, and non-hetero sexual orientations. And yet the collectivist either does not see or willfully ignores the irony and contradiction which says that one has a right to assemble and discourse and exchange value with anyone they choose and yet may not discriminate, as if there is no equivalency between the freedom to assemble and freedom to discriminate.
The collectivist will extol the virtues of the middle-class Main Street shop owner and then in the same breath will decry that shop owner when he or she will not serve, with his own time and his own property, members of some arbitrary “protected” class, and will demand government violence for the purposes of compelling that individual shop owner, with his or her “rights” of assembly and affiliation, into compliance with the collectivist “moral standard”.
The collectivist (even a “libertarian” one) will make overtures to the rights of individuals to worship as they choose, and yet will cry for the blood and incarceration of government workers who refuse to comply with a given demand that they affiliate, through their government post, with this group or that because it violates their religious conscience. And instead of asking the more important and relevant question of why a government employee is in the position of having to violate his or her religious conscience in the first place (as though government has any rational business being involved in any relationship between individuals where no direct violations of human beings are occurring) they will cheer when violence is meted out against the individual who dares oppose the collective will.
But none of these equivocations, from either the individualist or the collectivist, unravel or parse the fundamental metaphysic involved in the root premise. And this is because there is no such thing as compromise between, or an integration/intersection of, the ideas that man is SELF and man GROUP. There is no middle ground. There is no vacuum of space which separates you, the individual, and society. One is a direct and uninterrupted function of the other. Period. Any attempt to reconcile them practically will always result in the destruction of humanity, because once you compromise the individual metaphysic, you have no choice in the end but to compromise the individual himself. There is no other outcome. It makes no difference how much you desire or plead for there to be another outcome; how much you dream, or demand it. Once you have chosen your premise, there are no other choices possible with respect to the necessary existential conclusion. If man is not himself, he is nothing…he is not, and he is dead. All will and choice is, from that moment on, fundamentally irrelevant. A metaphysical, ontological premise will NOT be denied its conclusion. It does not matter what you think or do or say or how hard you work. Once you’ve conceded the irreducible, there is nowhere else to go except where it will lead you. The premise you concede about what you are at your foundation determines your end. You get either death or life. And that, as they say, is that. The only way to avoid the necessary end of one irreducible premise is to concede its rank and polar opposite.
If you are SELF, then SELF is what you will reap. You will reap the necessary reality of the singular, irreducible context and standard of truth and morality: YOUR infinite existential, metaphysically singular context of YOU, alone. Infinite and forever. Life everlasting. If you are NOT SELF…if you are “group”, then you will be sacrificed. Death everlasting, starting from the very moment you decide that you are not, in fact, you at all. That you, as an extension of the group, cannot possibly have a frame of reference for anything, because you are material and group is abstract, and there is no way for one to experience existence from the context of the other, because they are entirely exclusive. Your only obligation is to become empty, so that what you “really” are–the collective–will “live”. Whatever that means. Because, well…you cannot really know, can you?
The foundation of human conceptual thinking is, I submit, comprised of two basic categories. The first is the material concept, and this category is comprised of the visceral “objects” humans can sense…the physical environment/universe, if you will, or what some empiricists, rationalists, and Objectivists might call “objective reality”. To an extent, this is a satisfactory description. It’s a bit narrow and lacks depth in terms of the metaphysics, but it will do fine for our purposes here. Concepts in this category would be your concrete nouns: tree, cat, car, skyscraper, Huey Lewis and the News, etc. The other category is comprised of the abstract concepts…those things which are not visceral, and cannot be observed. Blue, left, fear, joy…as well as other, more complicated and arcane abstractions, such as mathematics, metaphysics, politics, public relations, doctrine, and the laws of nature.
With respect to “collectives” what is too often and falsely assumed is that the “collective” or the “masses” or the “group” is a material concept to be found in objective reality when in fact it is an abstraction. Government, the Church, the Nation, the Race, the Workers, the People, Society…these are not material, but abstract. They are immaterial.
In other words, there is no such thing as a group, per se. The nation or the community or society doesn’t actually exist in material reality. The “people”, “the community”, “society”, the “Church body”, doesn’t take up space. It doesn’t have volume. It cannot be touched or felt or seen. It isn’t there, is the point. What I am saying is that once you remove the individual human being, there can be no group…no collective. For the individual person is the only actual, physical component of any group. There is no such thing as a “society” which doesn’t begin and end with the individual. Subtract the person, and the collective becomes meaningless, and therefore, impossible.
Thus, all collectives are a direct function of the individual, not the other way around. So, to ask an individual to make concessions to the group is to ask what is material…or, better said, to ask what is real to sacrifice itself to what is not. To ask an individual to provide (often at gunpoint by the monopolizers of force) a measure of his property to a group of “others”, based upon a collective commonality that cannot be exactly and equally applied to each individual within that collective, is inherently irrational and must therefore be destructive. It is impossible, you see, because there can be no collective equality when the collective is comprised of metaphysically and ontologically distinct, and infinitely so, individuals. What I mean by this is you cannot make equal that which is infinitely and singularly distinct and fully of itself. Each human being is distinctly himself, at the metaphysical level. At this level–at the level of being–there is no connection to another. It simply does not exist. Each person is utterly themselves; the beginning and end of their own essence; existence; being; IS. The idea of “equality” amongst group members then is impossible because it cannot be rationally applied. You cannot apply an equality of individuals without violating the singularly individual metaphysic. And this violation occurs when the collective metaphysic is applied to individuals, making them a function of GROUP, not of SELF. And once this is done we are forced to concede that the individual person is not an individual at all, but is in fact a direct function of the abstraction of “group” (“nation”, “society”, “race”, “community”, etc.). With respect to your individuality then, what is declared “real” is the abstraction of GROUP. What is not empirical–what cannot be sensed; what is not, in fact, physical, becomes the “real” truth, and you, as a physical, singular self-aware agent, becomes the abstraction. The illusion. The absolute servant of the collective “reality”. He who thinks and observes himself as one, is not, in fact, himself. He is everyone. He is all. He is society.
But how can it be rationally argued that the collective is not in fact fundamentally grounded in the individual? How does the collective exist once the individual is removed? How is it possible to arrive at EVERYONE from a metaphysic which demands the existence of NO ONE (no individual)? How do you get a group of people when the most basic and smallest component from which that group is derived is eradicated from the existential equation?
Well…you don’t. It is impossible, full stop. And this is why ALL nations, governed by a central authority responsible for governing on behalf of the “people”, and “society”, and the “common good”, no matter how ostensibly benign, no matter how rationally sound its Constitution may seem, no matter how benevolent its intentions are, must inevitably dissolve into the oppression, exploitation, and eventual murder of the individual on a mass scale. Once each one of us becomes a metaphysical function of an abstraction like “society”, there can be no society at all. We all must be sacrificed to society, because our self-evident individual material presence, and our undeniable singular conscious frame of reference–the existential reference of SELF–becomes a rank offense and affront to the collective of society. The abstraction is absolute. IT, not the individual, is the infinite metaphysical singularity. Only it gets to exist, for “real”. And as long as there are individuals out there saying the word “I”, its fullness cannot be realized. Humanity must be destroyed so that the fullness of the “truth” of the collective can be realized.
A common refrain from those with left leaning politics is the idea that “without society” the individual would and could not be in a position to acquire the wealth and assets which they wish to commandeer at gunpoint (via the State’s monopoly of force (violence)) in order to redistribute it to the arbitrarily selected “special” classes. This argument is nothing more than an appeal to the Marxist collectivist metaphysic I discussed above. You see, the basis of this argument is the idea that the individual needs society–that it is the abstraction which allows for the existence, survival, and prosperity of the actual, physical, visceral individual human being. Of course this is so obviously fallacious it is a wonder this argument gets any traction at all. But nevertheless, and unfortunately, it does.
Since the collective, or “society”, is impossible and irrelevant without its requisite smallest component–the individual–it is the apogee of sophism and irrationality to argue that somehow the individual, who rightly and reasonably employs the apparatus of “society” to his own benefit, affirmation, protection, and prosperity, is somehow, in turn, obligated to sacrifice himself to society…an idea which could have no relevance and certainly no practical application absent his existence. Nevertheless this is the socialist/Marxist/collectivist ideology rooted in the requisite collectivist metaphysic. It is the idea that somehow, that which cannot exist without the individual, and is in fact a direct and categorical product of the individual’s own mind, has some right to demand of its creator an ablution and an offering.
Obviously what is an abstraction, “the people”, or “society”, cannot possibly demand penance and property from the individual human being, and this is why the abstraction’s proxies must act in its stead. Whenever a politician demands that this person must be robbed of his property in service to the group, or the “greater good”, know that this property cannot in fact go to any end except the whims and contrivances of those who are using their position as the monopolizers of force to “serve” on “behalf of the group”. Remember, “group”, be it the “poor” or “disadvantaged” or “those without healthcare”, or “minorities”, or “single moms” is an abstraction, and these merely direct derivations of the primary group abstraction, “society”, or “nation”, or the “people”, or the “country” (which is why leftist politicians always conflate forced private property redistribution to the poor as of general benefit to “society”–for the “poor” is merely a sub-collective with direct roots in the primary collective of “nation”, or “America”…there is no actual distinction in their eyes). What is an abstraction has no need of material goods, nor can it even be in the existential position to accept any such goods, be them labor or money. Those rulers who represent the group as its human proxies, on the other hand, can. And they do. As I stated in my last article, the Collective which is represented by its human proxies, the governing authorities, is already the epitome of existential perfection. It is already the Standard of Truth and Morality by which all else is measured. It has no need of anything…it dictates terms. Its only requirement is that all individuals–all who utter the word “I”–be sacrificed and consumed in service to itself. It’s inexorable need and objective is for its infinity be absolute and unchallenged. Its human proxies–its “leaders”, “rulers”, “governors”–exist to make that happen. They are the “authority” which “stands in its stead”. They are the ones who absorb the life and property of the individual because, as far as you and I are concerned, there is no difference between them and the Ideal of the Nation; the People; the Society.
But the truth is that society collapses unless the individual is free to exploit it to its own ends, and this is because “society” is an abstraction–it is not human beings; and we need to be clear about this. Society is a direct function of the individual’s mind, devised specifically in order to make it easier for he or she to realize their individual and personal and singular existence upon the earth as they see fit. It is individuals coming together voluntarily to exchange value for value in service to individual life and well being; to ensure that each one of us manifests ourSELVES upon our world and our universe as we see fit, and of, by, and to ourselves. Society belongs to us, we do not belong to it. The Race, the Workers, the Nation, the Party, the Church, belong to us. It is of us, and for us…individually; alone and unique and equally unequal. The individual must always and only gain from his affiliation with and presence within society according to his own standards–his own ideas, his own objectives, his own goals, his own desires, his own purposes, his own schedule, and no one else’s. Always and utterly, every minute and every second of every day, forever. There can be NO loss for the individual, ever, to “society” in his eyes. Because once that happens, its all over. The minute man is compelled to lose something–to suffer a net and un-reimbursed debt–in service to “society” the metaphysics are flipped completely on their heads. Once man is asked to give without any gain to the “group”, he has become a function of the abstraction. What is has become what is not. You are no longer you. You, and all you know, are a lie.
Man is Self, and “society” is his abstraction he must use for his own individual, perpetual gain, as he desires and defines for himself. Any other understanding or application of the idea of “society” is a rank corruption. It is a lie, and it can do nothing and will inevitably do nothing else but erase its human progenitors from the face of the earth.