Much of what looks like critical thinking is nothing more than a shift in fashion. We like to think ourselves wiser than previous generations but the evidence is not always conclusive. Maybe this generation is wiser in some respects but not all change indicates progress and not all progress indicates an increase in wisdom.
So much of what forms the foundations of Western society, comes to us from generations long since forgotten. Much of what forms our cultural bedrock has never been examined because it is indeed, the ground upon which all our judgement is exercised.
One of the most fundamental ideas passed to us through history is the idea that there is such thing as a single human being. Every part of our culture accepts that the basic human unit is the individual. Our education system teaches that individual effort will reward and bring advantages over those who are less able or less willing to learn. All of our law is based on the idea of the responsibility of the individual for their behavior. Our popular culture preaches the power of one at every opportunity. Most movies begin by revealing an injustice of some sort and then a story unfolds of how an individual saves the day, often with the assistance of that instrument most able to confirm this illusionary idea of the power of one; the gun. Even our attempts to heal social dysfunction mostly leave people more isolated in the process. We give people pills, pamphlets and programs and we form individuals as patients, clients and cases but “One” is lonely; it isn’t human.
To see the illusion and rethink the situation will cause us to look afresh at every aspect of our human arrangements. What if the fundamental number in the basic human unit is two? What if we are radically, hard wired as social beings? If the fundamental human unit is two, there is no human presence until there is community. The word, “I” could only ever at most describe, half of something.
An individual is only half human....[read more]