It is a healthy development to see growing concern for community and life together in the West. At the same time the hunger for life together can, and does, create some deep problems that are rarely talked about in the right way. My friend Monte Wilson recently captured my concern in a post that I believe is very important for Christians who have experienced deep brokenness and desire to be enfolded into a deeply Christian family or small group/church.
Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but our fatally short-sighted age thinks only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations…
― C.G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self
Sameness – Where every one looks alike, talks alike, believes the same (what they are told to believe), goes along to get along; is brought about by the belief that the judgment of others is more important and more valuable then his or her own evaluations; lives based on fear and self-distrust. Synonyms – Cookie-cutter, boring, mindless, asleep at the wheel, dishonest, robots
Individuality – The product of a relentless pursuit of truth; the result of the belief that one’s life is a gift to be stewarded before the Gift Giver; a person who holds to his or her own beliefs, values, truth, and vision, and respects the same in others; lives based on love and self-respect. Synonyms – Unique, interesting, engaged, responsible, real
Sameness is mindless imitation
Individuality is a commitment to one’s own path
Sameness is cheap, requires very little effort, and leaves one without a self to respect
Individuality demands a steep price but produces the priceless reward of self-respect
Sameness drives out creativity and leaves only dullness of thought and feeling
Individuality requires the use of the full range of one’s mind and senses for creating the noble, the sublime, and the beautiful
Sameness is encouraged by The Powers That Be because robots are easier to program and control
Individuality threatens Control Freaks and Power Brokers because they won’t be managed according to the blueprints of others
Sameness stands or falls before The Group
Individuals stand or fall before their own beliefs, judgments, and actions
Sameness only listens to parrots and robots: all others are categorized as “ignorant,” “foolish,” or “the enemy.”
Individuals listen for truth, logic, and wisdom.
Sameness goes along to get along, giving up individuality for “the common good”
Individuals unite for a common purpose and then integrate their uniqueness’ for the sake of that purpose.
Sameness only sees and groups people according to classes, races, religious groupings, political factions/ voting blocs
Individuals see … individuals: presently the smallest and most abused minority in our country.
Sameness sees the means of “salvation” as Group Think
Individuals stand on the wisdom of St Paul: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Monte E. Wilson
Monte Wilson trains individuals, teams, and organizations to develop personal and team effectiveness. His work has taken him around the globe and for 40 years he has trained thousands of international leaders in the fields of communication and persuasion, education, and non-profit organizations. As a Corporate Trainer and Life Coach, he has specialized in working across cultural lines throughout the world to establish and sustain successful businesses, both large and small. ESPN, ABC, United Technologies and Best Buy.
As an authority on leadership development, Monte has worked with men and women across five continents, teaching them how to reinvent themselves, their communities and their organizations.
One of Monte’s greatest passions is Stopping Traffic, International: a charity dedicated to rebuilding the lives of children rescued from sexual slavery and slave labor. Please visit Monte’s mission and support his worthy cause.
Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2015
My Latest Book!
Use Promo code UNITY for 40% discount!
Joseph L Schafer liked this on Facebook.
In the Christian blogosphere, it’s easy to find articles talking about all the problems created by Western individualism. (In some audiences, you get scored +1 point just for attaching the adjective Western to the thing you are about to criticize.) What they say has merit. But I wonder: Do these authors have any clue what it is really like to live in a tribe where individual expression and differentiation are seen as prima facie evidence that you are sinfully proud?
This echoes some of the things that I’ve learned from studying the trinity this past year; each of the persons are of the same substance yet they retain their respective uniqueness. Furthermore, no given member neither violates nor detrimentally encroaches upon another’s personhood; unique individuals yet fully united. The church would be much healthier if it understood and sought to truly apply the rich doctrine of the Trinity.
Joseph, I reckon that these kinds of people have come from tribes that are much different than the one that we’ve experienced. Perhaps they have seen and been wounded by the selfish individualism of ‘visionaries’ within the church who are no less self-interested power-mongers and charlatans.
David A. Weed liked this on Facebook.
Penny Welch liked this on Facebook.
Forrest Lee Horn liked this on Facebook.
Monte identifies some the strengths of individualism and some of the weaknesses of sameness. With the kind of work he does I amsure he could reveal some of the weakness of individualism and the strengths of sameness. The two concepts are not meant to live in contrast to one another, but are paradoxical. As one pointe out earlier this is reflected in the trinity. There is one God, yet three distinct persons. They live in continual self offering to one another, love. We choose individuality or sameness based upon love, not on a rule. This love is made manifest by Christ through the Holy Spirit. At least this is some of my understanding today and still in pursuit of greater wisdom. I am attempting to change my language that when I speak of a single person I do not say individual, but rather use the word person because person is both individual and communal.