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  • The A to Z of isms... individualism.

    A 到 Z 主義特輯,這次是 I 開頭 Individualism (個人主義)。

  • If someone called you an individualist, would you be flattered or insulted?


  • An individualist might be a rugged John Wayne, a pioneer like Amy Johnson, a creative innovator like Kate Bush, or an entrepreneur like Richard Branson.

    個人主義者可以是粗獷的演員 John Wayne,拓荒者 Amy Johnson,極具創意的改革者 Kate Bush,或企業家 Richard Branson。

  • People we admire for refusing to follow the crowd, for being true to themselves.


  • But individualism is also often said to be the source of Western civilization's degeneracy, accused of leading to selfishness, shallow consumerism, the breakdown of society.


  • Individualism is a double-edged sword.


  • Many believe its Western roots go right back to early Christianity.


  • Jesus taught that salvation did not depend on what tribe you belong to, but on how you chose to live your life.


  • God had a one-to-one relationship with people, not to groups.


  • The 16th Century Protestant Reformation took this further, taking away the need for priests to act as intermediaries between God and ordinary people.

    16 世紀時新教改革再將推進了這件事,廢除了普通百姓與上帝之間的媒介人牧師。

  • This sowed the seeds for the flowering of the modern individual in the 18th Century Enlightenment.

    這埋下了現代個人主義的種子,並在 18 世紀啟蒙運動時開花結果。

  • The Prussian philosopher Kant summed up its key message in the Latin phrase "sapere aude"— dare to know, to think for yourself.

    普魯士哲學家 Kant 用拉丁語 "Sapere Aude" 總結了其關鍵思想:「勇於求知,並為自己思考。」

  • Personal autonomy became the central value of Western society.


  • We see this in the principles of one person, one vote; civil liberties; and equal rights for all.


  • But this in many ways welcome development has gone hand in hand with the decline of community.


  • The growth of independence and autonomy leads to a decline in interdependence and solidarity.


  • In other cultures these communal values have traditionally taken precedence.


  • Across East Asia, who you are cannot be separated from the groups you belong to.


  • That does not mean you lose your identity in the crowd, you find your identity in it: as a parent, a child, a ruler, a teacher, an apprentice.


  • When we can all be different and yet all come together, we have harmony, the highest value in Confucian philosophy.


  • Across the world individualism is lamented when it turns us into atomized units, cut off from each other, showing little or no interest in our fellow citizens.


  • But if you can be yourself, while also being part of society, contributing to it, your individualism will be praised and celebrated.


The A to Z of isms... individualism.

A 到 Z 主義特輯,這次是 I 開頭 Individualism (個人主義)。

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