Individuality and Religion
by phil on Monday May 12, 2003 1:10 PM
(from e-mail to Roberto)
Yeah, the West is so ubar-individualized. Everybody gets this feeling of ownership and being. The ego's inflated while as the hyperego is de-flated here in the West.
Of course, it's just an illusion that we are our own selves and composed of only what we make. For me, I can look at every thought I have and I can draw, to some degree, a causation map of things that I've encountered by luck that influenced that thought.
RE :religion, it's hard to form a religion around individuality. Sartre did it, but he's like the only one that I know to do it effectively. Developing a cult of the self, at least in my personal practice, descends one into vanity and egotistical behavior. In addition, it's hard to develop a _sense_ of purpose when everything is all for the raising and glorification of one node. i.e. If your goal is to amass lots of money and achievements, it'll be sad to know that when you're dead, all of those just become vaporware. While as if you see yourself as connected to others as "one" then, then your efforts seem to work for something bigger than yourself. I think most of us have this ascetic trait and so limiting your realm of interest to oneself will lead to unhappiness.
Now, not to say that selfish people don't serve a "purpose" in this world. Every thing serves a purpose, but I think if one is to walk around and be able to say to themselves, "Man, I feel like my life has meaning" then I think it has to extend to things bigger than the self.