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Being yourself is to be connected up
July 01, 2013

I read an article in last week’s Spectator – Hooray for me! by Brendon O’Neill. It was very wise and profound as it said exactly what I think. So as I read it I was up for any new wisdom that might be dispensed. And out it came at the end. And I found that I could join it up to what I understand to be the key insights of Human Givens.

The thesis of the article was that ideas of individualism and freedom were under threat – fighting against groupthink and political correctness. That individualism is routinely defined as selfish, prejudiced, dog eat dog style capitalism and a force that needs to be tamed rather than celebrated. And what is interesting is that the individual is under assault not just by the left but by the right too. The right thinks individualism makes people behave irresponsibly and the left think that it undermines social solidarity.

But actually argues Brendon, it is only through a genuine understanding of what individualism is about, can any society flourish. That autonomous and eccentric individualism in fact makes people more morally aware and conscious of their behaviours.

To bring the argument up to date and to relate it to Human Givens - that only free individuals have genuine choice in their lives and so are getting their needs properly met and are thereby living their lives with their emotions under control. And with emotions working properly, these individuals can then make sense of what is real and genuine and right for both them and everyone of us And this is to live a moral, connected and responsible life as part of a community of free individuals.

best wishes

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Andrew Richardson

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