Daily Tao / 358 – Collectivity

Mass-Society

Ancient societies were tribal;
The group did the thinking.
Current society is splintered;
The individual must be complex.

People from old traditions were often less complicated because they had the advantage of a complete culture that did the thinking for them. Everyone had a role that fit the whole. Individuals could concentrate on fulfilling their place, confident that the other needs would be met by the collective.

The specialization of modern times calls for individual roles that do not necessarily form a whole. We often lose sight even of what the whole is. We have commentators, we have critics, but we do not have leaders. We celebrate egalitarianism and consensus, but it is phony : a chaos of voices rather than a democracy; a populace of individuals pursuing their own ends rather than a collective.

The burden thus falls on the individual to fulfill a tremendous range of functions. We have to make more choices, be more informed, act in a wide variety of areas. We cannot simply concentrate on doing our part, because now our part is to compete with everyone else.

Spirituality is more difficult today. In the past, you could become a spiritual aspirant and the people would support you; a holy person was just as much a part of the collective as a farmer. Now, to be a holy aspirant you have to look for your own job and find new ways through a society that barely recognizes the spiritual.

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