Inspired by the always stimulating magazine Zeitpunkt (issue 145 only in German!) about the topic ‘alone – together’ (and in particular the article by Leila Dregger), I decided to start addressing this week the subject the individual and community.
The individual and community are not two opposing and excluding sides of a spectrum. On the contrary. Especially in these times of ours these two social variables require each other. Or, as Leila Dregger beautifully puts it: “There is no functioning community without individuality. Conversely, there is no individuality without community.” For individuality makes only sense in the context of community. It distinguishes us from others. When there are no others such distinction becomes obsolete.
What does individuality mean? Basically, every one has the ability to be an individual. Individuality is made up of different personality traits. We Anthroposophists call those traits the I on one and the shadow respectively the double aspects – that are part of each individual – on the other hand. To simplify, the I represents that which is constructive and the shadow respectively the double that which tends to be destructive traits of personality.
The term community can also be broken down. On the one hand we can identify a community as a social organism on the other hand as a collective. The term social organism illustrates the spiritedness of human coexistence, which expresses itself through interaction and interdependence. With the term collective I identify the sum of conform people (with little individuality and self-determination) dependent, externally manipulated (and often controlled) by a system more or less ideological, dogmatic and often bureaucratic.
In a positive sense a community is a social organism of constructive and interdependent individuals. Viability (but also survival) and the continuing development of such a social organism heavily depends on developed individuals. Without them, it spins around in circles as a collective system. In order to discover our individuality, we must confront our biography and ourselves. Biography work is for a good method to do so (s. biography work coming up soon on my site).