Man is responsible for himself, not only for his own individuality but for all men. Man chooses himself, and in choosing for ourselves, we choose for all men.
Whatever crushes individuality is despotism... I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized.
Customs are made for customary circumstances; even in what people do for pleasure, conformity is the first thing thought of; they live in crowds: they exercise choice only among things commonly done: peculiarity of taste, eccentricity of conduct, are shunned equally with crimes: until by dint of not following their own nature they have not nature to follow. Whatever crushes individuality is despotism. [And] I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized.
Even despotism does not produce its worst effects, so long as individuality exists under it; and whatever crushes individuality is despotic, by whatever name it may be called, and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.
What crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.
Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly, a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven, that nothing is separate or extraneous. If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense... Perhaps the most ‘spiritual’ thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.
It is a blessed thing that in every age someone has had the individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions.
Addictive spirituality creates dependence in the practitioner (frequently to authoritarian leaders and their communities), an avoidance of personal responsibility, and loss of individuality through social controls, such as fear, guilt, or greed for power or bliss. It also tends to suppress rational inquiry into the teachings. Healthy spirituality, on the other hand, supports the practitioner's freedom, autonomy, self-esteem, and social responsibility. It is based on experience, rather than belief or dogma; it does not create idols out of spiritual teachers; and it empowers students by emphasizing democratic forms of learning and teaching, rather than the authoritarian model that has dominated spiritual life for millennia.
The soul is more interested in particulars than in generalities. That is true of personal identity as well. Identifying with a group or a syndrome or a diagnosis is giving in to an abstraction. Soul provides a strong sense of individuality - personal destiny, special influences and background, and unique stories. In the face of overwhelming need for both emergency and chronic care, the mental health system labels people schizophrenics, alcoholics, and survivors so that it can bring some order to the chaos of life at home and on the street, but each person has a special story to tell, no matter how many common themes it contains.
Man becomes virtually an automaton in the loss of his individuality and responsibility. He is the harp of a thousand strings played upon by a divine hand, but not a man!
The four cornerstones of character on which the structure of this nation was built are: Initiative, Imagination, Individuality and Independence.
Such a weapon goes far beyond any military objective and enters the range of very great natural catastrophes. By its very nature it cannot be confined to a military objective but becomes a weapon which in practical effect is almost one of genocide. It is clear that the use of such a weapon cannot be justified on any ethical ground which gives a human being a certain individuality and dignity even if he happens to be a resident of an enemy country... The fact that no limits exist to the destructiveness of this weapon makes its very existence and the knowledge of its construction a danger to humanity as a whole. It is necessarily an evil thing considered in any light.
Care and responsibility are constituent elements of love, but without respect for and knowledge of the beloved person, love deteriorates into domination and possessiveness. Respect is not fear and awe; it denotes, in accordance with the root of the word (respicere = to look at), the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his individuality and uniqueness. To respect a person is not possible without knowing him; care and responsibilty would be blind if they were not guided by the knowledge of the person's individuality.
Then self-consciousness arose and gave us distance on our world. We needed that distance in order to make decisions and strategies, in order to measure, judge and to monitor our judgments. With the emergence of free-will, the fall out of the Garden of Eden, the second movement began -- the lonely and heroic journey of the ego. Nowadays, yearning to reclaim a sense of wholeness, some of us tend to disparage that movement of separation from nature, but it brought us great gains for which we can be grateful. The distanced and observing eye brought us tools of science, and a priceless view of the vast, orderly intricacy of our world. The recognition of our individuality brought us trial by jury and the Bill of Rights.
And just because God attains and wins and finds this uniqueness, all our lives win in our union with him the individuality which is essential to their true meaning.
We seek true individuality and the true individuals. But we find them not. For lo, we mortals see what our poor eyes can see; and they, the true individuals, - they belong not to this world of our merely human sense and thought.
We, and all things, exist in God’s infinitude now; our individuality battens within it; our personality grows strong because of it; and we know, if we know anything, that while the more we approach the good the more we please God, at the same time the more men approach the good the more nobly distinctive, the more beautifully individual, do their characters become. To imagine, then, that at the end of this life we shall cease to exist as conscious beings, that our characters, our personalities, will fall back into some boundless being, instead of becoming more and more definite, more and more individual, is certainly not to exalt God; for it is founded on the belief, either that God is now belittled by our present individuality, or that our present individuality is a mere delusion. In the latter case God, whom we find in the depths of our souls, is doubtless also a delusion, for if the self is not real it is no respectable witness on whose testimony we can accept God. Our deepest mature conviction is that finite and infinite interpenetrate, as time and eternity interpenetrate, and our problems must be solved in the light of that conviction.
Consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, each and every creature, each and every human being — in one form or the other — strives to assert individuality. But when eventually man consciously experiences that he is Infinite, Eternal and Indivisible, then he is fully conscious of his individuality as God, and as such experiences Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Power and Infinite Bliss.
This very essence of a man, his soul, which the artist puts into his work and which is represented by it, is found again in the work by the enjoyer, just as the believer finds his soul in religion or in God, with whom he feels himself to be one. It is on this identity of the spiritual, which underlies the concept of collective religion, and not on a psychological identification with the artist, that the pleasurable effect of the work of art ultimately depends, and the effect is, in this sense, one of deliverance….But both [artist and enjoyer], in the simultaneous dissolution of their individuality in a greater whole, enjoy, as a high pleasure, the personal enrichment of that individuality through this feeling of oneness. They have yielded up their mortal ego for a moment, fearlessly and even joyfully, to receive it back in the next, the richer for this universal feeling.
Creativity needs to be stimulated, not only at the level of student’s individuality, but also at the level of their individuality in a social context. Instead of suffocating this curious impetus, educators should stimulate risk taking, without which there is no creativity.