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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/11/12

Transcend Self-Interest

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Message Gregory Gull
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There seems to be a growing acceptance of the notion that we each are free independent individuals and as a consequence we not only can, but also should, order life in society accordingly.

 

Being free independent individuals necessarily means people can freely do as they please or more specifically that they should do as they wish for their own pleasure--(my) life is all about me getting what's mine without interference.   Apart from being unencumbered in seeking what we want, this belief also implies there is no obligation that an individual has to other individuals, because such obligation would be tantamount to an imposition (by another) upon one's freedom to act as he/she desires.

 

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Being independent also means I depend on no one else and no one else depends on me--everyone is on his/her own.   This implies that we each are separate with different intentions, hence the importance of being free to enact these intentions.   I think and do for me and only me.

 

With collective action requiring individuals to follow an idea that is likely not one's own, it leads to everyone's action being constrained or circumscribed by this idea.   Thus acting as or in a collective is something that must be rejected by free independent individuals--there can only be free independent individual action if there is no constraint or obligations.   That is, free independent individual concept as the overarching theory to guide order-creating policy necessarily means collective concerns are denied out of existence.   Thus, action upon each other (in pursuit of self-interest) is far more likely than acting with each other (in support of collective interests).

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[Note following this idea might not even be possible because it equates to restricting one's action by the imposed idea of another--specifically that you ought to act as if you are a free independent individual.   Hence this essentially means that another's idea for how to order life is imposed upon your life and in conforming to the idea of someone else you would no longer be acting from your own idea as a free and independent individual!]  

 

A Thought Experiment

Let's conduct a thought experiment where we take the notion of free independent individuals to its logical conclusion. In this experiment we make the assumption that free independent individuals is the foundational principle upon which life is structured.  

 

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So we have a number of free independent individuals--a crowd of people--inhabiting Earth.   In this created world of free independent individuals each roams about following his/her own plans in pursuit of his/her own ideas unfettered by the ideas, needs or wishes of another.   Everyone is on his/her own doing his/her own thing!   Now let's fast forward to the future to see what has come of this world of free independent individuals doing his/her own thing.

 

Absent of collective shared values, laws and ideas of what is right and good there is no rationale for or vision of a "we' and hence no government.   After all a system of governance is antithetical to the notion of free independent individuals who believe that their freedom rests upon them not being encumbered and having no inherent or institutionalized obligations to others that would impinge upon them acting in accordance with their own plan for pursuing their own interests.   So for example, in place of government, we see each individual ensuring his/her own safety and security through his/her individual idea that each believes affords him/her safety and security.   Likely fearful of each other they each equip themselves with weapons of their choice for protection.  

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My educational background includes a Ph.D. in Organizational Studies, an M.A in Statistics and a B.S. in Mathematics/Education. My experience in business and industry is as extensive as it is diverse, having held positions across the full range of (more...)
 
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