The Individual vs. The Collective: Which One Are You?
Some thoughts and questions after reading The Fountainhead
“Can you rule a thinking man? We don’t want any thinking men.”
That’s Ellsworth Toohey towards the end of The Fountainhead. It could easily be what any of our heads of state, scientific “leaders”, or media influencers admit to their closest confidantes behind closed doors.
Because that’s exactly what they want. And they’ve groomed a good portion of the population to become just that. Un-thinking men.
The Collective Is the Death of Our Society
Sadly, if the sleepy masses — or parasites as Ayn Rand refers to them — ever wake up, it will be too late. And the ones who lulled them into submission will likely sound just like Toohey does here:
“Peter, you’ve heard all this. You’ve seen me practicing it for ten years. You see it being practiced all over the world. Why are you so disgusted? You have no right to sit there and stare at me with the virtuous superiority of being shocked. You’re in on it. You’ve taken your share and you’ve got to go along. You’re afraid to see where it’s leading. I’m not. I’ll tell you. The world of the future. The world I want. A world of obedience and of unity. A world where the thought of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess the thought in the brain of his neighbor who’ll have no thought of his own but an attempt to guess the thought of the next neighbor who’ll have no thought—and so on, Peter, around the globe. Since all men must agree with all.”
I fear we’re already there. If we look at studies on compliance and conformity, we see that anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters of the population is comfortably part of the collective.
I’m not just talking about the progressive class that parrots the same talking points either. There are plenty of conservatives and independents who are guilty of the same thing.
It’s only going to get worse as so-called leaders and saviors rise up on the right. Conservatives will fall in line just as liberals did and, soon, one conservative’s thought will be indistinguishable from another.
“An octopus, all tentacles and no brain. Judgment, Peter? Not judgment, but public polls. An average drawn upon zeroes—since no individuality will be permitted. A world with its motor cut off and a single heart, pumped by hand. My hand—and the hands of a few, a very few other men like me. Those who know what makes you tick—you great, wonderful average, you who have not risen in fury when we called you the average, the little, the common, you who’ve liked and accepted those names. You’ll sit enthroned and enshrined, you, the little people, the absolute ruler to make all past rulers squirm with envy, the absolute, the unlimited, God and Prophet and King combined. Vox populi. The average, the common, the general. Do you know the proper antonym for Ego? Bromide, Peter. The rule of the bromide. But even the trite has to be originated by someone at some time. We’ll do the originating. Vox dei. We’ll enjoy unlimited submission—from men who’ve learned nothing except to submit. We’ll call it ‘to serve.’ We’ll give out medals for service. You’ll fall over one another in a scramble to see who can submit better and more. There will be no other distinction to seek. No other form of personal achievement.”
Vox populi. Vox dei. The voice of the people is the voice of god.
But it isn’t really. Especially when that so-called god thinks so little of you. You are common. You are weak. You are gullible. This god knows this. This god also knows that if he (or she) puts enough of their thoughts out into the world in a benevolent and seemingly random manner, they can control which way the wind blows within public discourse.
The protagonist of The Fountainhead, Howard Roark, also knows that it won’t stop at mind control:
“The ‘common good’ of a collective—a race, a class, a state— was the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism? Does the fault lie in men’s hypocrisy or in the nature of the principle? The most dreadful butchers were the most sincere. They believed in the perfect society reached through the guillotine and the firing squad. Nobody questioned their right to murder since they were murdering for an altruistic purpose. It was accepted that man must be sacrificed for other men. Actors change, but the course of the tragedy remains the same. A humanitarian who starts with declarations of love for mankind and ends with a sea of blood. It goes on and will go on so long as men believe that an action is good if it is unselfish. That permits the altruist to act and forces his victims to bear it.”
We Need More Howard Roarks
In order to counteract that which the elite want to do to us and that which the collective will easily hand to them, we’ve gotta start using our brains more. And to stop fearing being “othered”. As Howard Roark explains during his final trial:
“Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons—a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind.”
The problem is, so many people have been conditioned to put their brains to sleep. They sleepwalk through life, letting their politicians and TV screens and families provide the basis for their thoughts and those thoughts dictate their feelings and actions.
“But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed by each man alone. We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.”
Others have been taught to be quiet and play nicely so that no harm will come their way. They know that the information they’re being fed is a lie or a deception and, yet, they don’t have the courage to stand up for what they believe in. And they’re content with watching their courageous counterparts get burned at the stake so long as it doesn’t bring hellfire down on them.
In my opinion, these people are no better than the parasites or second-handers.
“Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn’t done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.”
Individualism Will Save Us
Individualism is the cure for collectivism and the new world order.
But it’s not good enough if you disagree with the narrative in private or with a select few people on the internet who only know you by your pseudonym.
And it’s not good enough if you claim to treasure freedom and independence, but then go to Walmart to grab food for dinner, watch Amazon Prime for movie night, and get jabbed up so you don’t have to leave your cushy job and pension.
And it’s not good enough if you are unable to create anything.
“Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite faces nature through an intermediary.”
I’m not saying that everyone needs to become self-employed or to have artistic talent in order to free themselves from the collective. But creation is important. If you are unable to bring something new to life on your own, you will always depend on others to create for you.
Creation comes in so many different forms. Start a garden. Take some photos. Build a piece of furniture. Create an original fairy tale. Cook up a brand new dish. Repair something that’s broken in your home.
And if none of these strike your fancy, think about this:
Let’s say the shit hit the fan tomorrow, we lost the internet, and you stumbled upon a community of individuals. They ask you, “What can you bring to this group that we don’t already have?”.
What would your contribution be? If you don’t know, then look at what you’re good at and what you enjoy. You may discover a hidden or wasted talent that’s worth fostering and will help you tap into your true individual self.
Ridding your life of woke brands, digitally detoxifying, and reading as much as you can will help, too. When you free yourself of the many external influences and distractions in all of our lives right now, you’ll give your brain the time and space it needs to think and to allow you to do things in a more purposeful way.