World Academy of Art & ScienceThe Emerging Individual Web-seminar February 17, 2012 Garry jacobs, individuality project coordinator
Can one man change the world? Moses, Buddha, Christ, Muhammed, Alexander, Socrates, Aristotle, Euclid, Plato, Ashoka, Shankara, Lao-tse, Confucius, Kalidasa, Homer, Augustus, Aryabhata, Virgil, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Gutenberg, Copernicus, Columbus, Kepler, Galileo, Spinoza, Vico, Shakespeare, Dantes, Machiavelli, Luther, Calvin, Bacon, Boyle, Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, Mercator, Pascal, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, Franklin, Jefferson, Watt, Adam Smith, Napoleon, Mendel, Darwin, Dumas, Hugo, Marx, Beethoven, Wagner, Dickens, Goethe, Kant, Hegel, Edison, Ford, Einstein, Freud, Keynes, Gandhi, Mao, Jean Monet, Martin Luther King, Popper, Watson & Crick, Gorbachev, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Tom Peters, Berners-Lee, Soros, Jim Wales, Gore, Brin & Page, Zuckerberg…
Questions • What do we mean by individuality? • What is the relationship between the individual and the collective? • How is individuality formed? • What is the contribution of the individual to the development of the collective? • What is the role of the collective in the formation of the individual? • What conditions are most favorable for the formation of individuality? • Is humanity becoming more individualized?
Hypotheses • The mature individual represents the highest present achievement of human culture and perhaps of nature itself. • Humanity is becoming more individualized. • The evolution of the individual is the key to continuous evolution and sustainability of the human community. • Learning how to actively and successfully promote the development of human capital in general and the emergence of individuality in particular is the single most important challenge for ensuring humanity’s collective future.
What do we mean by individuality? 1. Individual • separate, single or particular person • a person who is striking, unusual, distinctive or original 2. Individualism • Independence, self-reliance, often self-centered and egoistic pursuit of self-interest. • Differentiation that makes a person feel separate from society. 3. Individuation • An advanced stage of personality formation characterized by distinguishing qualities, characteristics and values. • A development of consciousness made possible in freedom by which an undifferentiated member of the collective develops a unique personality with a sense of social responsibility as well as individual responsibility.
Characteristics of Individuality • Creativity, originality and uniqueness. • Self-directed, not limited by collective norms, roles or blind social conformity • Embraces change and challenges with self-confidence and courage • Accepts responsibility and adheres to high values • Aware of his own unique innate potentials • Pre-eminent member of the collective; not egoistic, selfish, isolated or living apart • In harmony with himself and society, viewing society as a complement rather than a threat to his individuality • Humility and respect for the individuality of others
Types or expressions of individuality Physical • Adventurer & Explorers – Columbus, Balboa, Lewis & Clark • Pioneers – American Pilgrims Social • Commercial entrepreneurs – Carnegie, Ford, Gates, Jobs • Social innovators – MuhammedYunus, Jim Wales • Political leaders – Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Gorbachev Mental • Inventors – Franklin, Watt, Edison, Tim Berners Lee, • Scientific discoverers – Copernicus, Newton, Darwin • Original thinkers – Socrates, Einstein • Creative artists – Leonardo, Shakespeare, Beethoven Spiritual • Prophet, saint, sage, rishi, yogi – Buddha, Christ, Muhammed
How is individuality formed? • The individual is not an exception to the norm. He carries within himself and embodies the accumulated knowledge, skills and capacities of the collective. • The individual is the conscious fount of the accumulated knowledge and experience of the collective • What is exceptional is the freedom and courage with which he explores, creates, invents, recombines and expresses the collective endowment in original ways.
What is the relationship between single person & collective? • Feudalism – subordination and subjection • Monarchy – obedience and loyalty • Democracy – political and civil rights • Social Democracy – socio-economic-cultural rights • Individualized Society – ?
What is Role of the individual in development of the collective? • Development takes place on a bedrock of social preparedness. • Pioneeringindividuals are the first to give expression to new ideas, values, organizational innovations, discoveries and creativeactions. • Successful pioneers may be ignored, ridiculed or persecuted, until a time when others imitate, replicate and multiply the new behavior. • Eventually society accepts, endorses, organizes and institutionalizes the new behavior and internalizes it in cultural values.
What conditions are favorable to formation of individuality? Individuality can fully emerge only when people feel secure, even when they oppose the conventional consciousness of the collective. • Peace – physical security ensured by law and order • Political freedom • Social equality • Economic security • Education – what type? • Cultural values – which ones?
Can we Educate for Individuality? • Can we teach true rationality that does not accept conventional wisdom just because it is conventional? • Can we teach the limits of rationality?
Cultural Values: shift From conformity to rationality • Even today society is ruled by conformity to the social consciousness of the collective. Social power still reside with those who conform. • The challenge is to emancipate the individual from subordination to the social consciousness which oppresses and constrains his creativity. • Conscious individuality can proliferate only when society respects the courage and vision of those who refuse to conform and is willing to endorse rational propositions, even when they conflict with prevailing social conventions.
Is individuality evolving? • The scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th century was carried out by a handful of inspired individuals. • Today there are thousands of inventors and entrepreneurs like Edison, Alexander Bell, Andrew Carnegie, and Henry Ford • Imagine a world in which individuality evolves from the rare exception into a common endowment.
Organizations as individuals • What applies to single individual human beings should be even more applicable to small groups of dedicated and dynamic people. • Club of Rome report The Limits to Growth in 1972. • Pugwash and IPPNW awarded Nobel prizes • Wikipedia – 20M articles, 238 languages, 365M readers and 100K regular contributors. • Individuality may offer valuable lessons for WAAS on how to fulfill the ambitious mission formulated by our founders 50 years ago.
WAAS Individuality Forum Log-in to WAAS website with your user name & password to participate in the Individuality discussions URL to access the Individuality discussion forum http://www.worldacademy.org/forum/49