One of the damaging parts of an individualist culture is you believe that “my decisions and actions are my own and they don’t affect anyone but me.” Really? What does a work where this is true really look like? What is a world where no one and nothing had any responsibility or impact on other things or people?
Every social contract we would ever consider to exists would be a lie. Complete anarchy would ensue. No one could trust another person. No one could live with another person. No one could birth and care for another person. No one would want to. No one would be able to change the world, because their actions would mean nothing. All would be futile. Only those without connection of any kind to another human being would be safe, but then again, would they not die alone and affect the earth they died on? Going back into the ground. Becoming the earth others would one day tread on. Affecting everything around the grave that no one would know or care existed.
I suppose I could take this to an even more extreme case and say, nothing would exist at all if nothing had a responsibility to some degree or another to each other. No one would be able to live. No one would die. Nothing would create the nourishment for other life to thrive. Of course, again, this would be in the extreme case of nothing having responsibility to another thing. Living or dead. All void. The ultimate Nothing.
There is power in the individual, but that power is not meant to be kept by the individual.
Think about it a little more on a practical scale. Humans are wired is way. To learn from every encounter and experience. To adapt based off previous experience. To grow. To connect. If people would only pursue for selfish gain seeking pleasure and self gratification comes with a price, and that price has to be paid to somebody or something. Affecting another. Seeking solitude costs those you leave behind. The money you spend goes into someone’s paycheck. The people you kill are on your hands and their lives are missed by their loved ones. The sex you want has to come from someone else, and the experience could go positively or negatively, and effect every moment they have thereafter. The minds to teach build from your ideas. Your creativity can inspire another. The people you help never forget…the people you hurt never forget. The more stress you put on your families, the strain of stress reaches to their friendships, and extends like an ongoing ripple effect in the lives of anyone who has ever felt emotion. The same with positivity. Everything. It touches everyone you know and everyone they know.
You think you have freedom to do what you want, but you only believe that because you come from a broken system. What you were born into is a body, filled with emotion, built for responsibility, created to be relational and rational. There is no human disconnected from the web of social interaction. No one free of emotion, empathy, and compassion. To be free of those things is to be inhuman. Every life you touch. Every person who’s name you know. Every life you have ever come in some kind of relational contact with…is effected by your decisions. We are all connected. You cannot escape the responsibility bestowed upon you. What you owe, you do not owe to yourself alone. You owe it to everyone. To the larger scale of things.
As scary as it might be to think about….there is something bigger than you, and you have no choice but to be apart of it. But what will you be? Useful or useless? Productive or a burden? It is logic. Logic larger than you. A construct as ancient as time. One that no one could ever deviate from. No living thing can deviate from. So I’m sorry if I didn’t like your Facebook status about “it’s my life, no one else has a say.” Or if I roll my eyes at your “I do what I want,” commentary. And I don’t care if you don’t forgive me when I feel I have a say in your life, because in all reality, I do. We all have a say. Are we not the jury? If foresight was 20/20 we would say more that you would ever be able to handle, but for the train wrecks we have seen time and time again to the same end, we will say something. Take it or leave it. You don’t have to listen, but you will take responsibility for what you owe us while we are the ones paying for your mistakes. Adapting without knowing it. Walk away from it? Fine. But you leave a mess no one can clean up but you…if you even can at all.
You are so wrapped up in your Individualism, you forgot the world was made for Collectivists. Your actions have effected people you never even knew existed, and there are people paying for your mistakes that you will never know.