Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Individualism and Communalism

Solomon Asch in "Opinions and Social Pressure:"

"Life in society requires consensus as an indispensable condition. But consensus, to be productive, requires that each individual contribute independently out of his experience and insight. When consensus comes under the dominance of conformity, the social process is polluted and the individual at the same time surrenders the power on which his functioning as a feeling and thinking being depends."

I had a drunken bar discussion long ago about the freedom of an existentialist to choose to belong to a religious group. Again I am reminded: communalism and individualism are not mutually exclusive concepts. A strong community is made up of free individuals.

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