When I stumbled across an article that classified individuality into different stages, I was intrigued by the whole concept

. Sadly, Individuality is misconstrued as 'Uniqueness' these days. Or has it always been this way since the dawn of the prehistoric phase? Individuality, according to me, is an awakened social consciousness that makes an individual confront social injustice with his free will. I don't want to digress but while we are on the topic, it's very interesting to note that individuality is strongly associated with free will. When I say free will, I don't say I don't believe in determinism or fatalism. I would probably call my views as classically compatible (Compatibilism is the belief that Freewill and Determinism can exist together). But why do I say 'Individuality' is strongly associated with freewill? Take the case of Socrates. Social injustice may be applicable to all the fields. Socrates confronted social injustice by choosing to act against the state. The wisest man, according to the oracle at Delphi was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens! His adherence to truth can be called as 'free will'. But his tragic death is fatalistic. Death is a deterministic event. But the legend chose to accept death by saying he believed the right time had come for him to die! Now, here is an

individual who chose to embrace fatalism with his free will! This seriously brings a truckload of other questions which I will try answering: 1. Can individuality be inspired? In my humble opinion, Individuality can NOT be inspired. It's some kind of a rational force that has its inspiration within. There may be a lot of people like Socrates to inspire you, yes, but only experience can shape an individual. I strongly agree with the empiricists in this regard. 2. If I want to become an awakened socially conscious person, do I need to follow the footsteps of great visionaries? I would say a big 'No' to this question too. You really need to have inspirations; of course, there's no question about it. Following someone's footsteps may be deemed as right by certain people but let's look at it this way. Times have changed and changes have become inevitable. The experiences gained by others may be different compared to yours! Solipsists, I guess will be able to understand what I am trying to convey!

3. When I say "I am a socially awakened individual", does that mean I am an objectivist? Freewill may be associated with Objectivism but Individualism, in my opinion, is not. This enlightened selfinterest moulds Egoists and exacerbates their condition. 4. Is an Individual subjective or objective? I would say a fine blend of both subjectivity and objectivity will create an individual. 5. Does a socially awakened individual focus on the end results? IMO, No. He does his duty (which is a form of Free will) and leaves the rest to God or any supreme power he believes in (which is a form of Determinism). 6. This isn't a question but a fact. Socially conscious individuals don't proclaim themselves to be enlightened. Socrates thought the oracle at Delphi was paradoxical just because it said he was the wisest person. With Individuality comes humility.

Now, delving deeper into the topic, we'll see what stops a person from becoming an awakened social Individual. The various factors, according to me would be Prejudice, Pretense, Envy, Fear, Conformism and the like. Prejudice gives a man preconceived notions. Preconceived notions can take a man in the wrong path. It might lead him to prejudicial views about everything he seeks or tries to understand. Pretense or hypocrisy makes a person preach what he doesn't believe in. Indian politicos fall into this category. Envy or Jealousy can make people get influenced by other great people's views and make them fall into the nadir of self-deprecation and restraint. Fear can stop an ordinary person from pursuing his highest goals. But the virtuous embrace difficulties with equanimity. They are imperturbable. Conformism has every potential to deprive a man of his rationality. To shape an individual, education, in my humble opinion is the most effective tool. Original thinking as opposed to conventional thinking should be encouraged. Half of our lives is spent reading other people's materials. By the time we read all the philosophers, we would have started

thinking their thoughts. I don't mean to say one mustn’t read. One also needs to do some original thinking. Analysing a situation from other people's perspective will only deprive you of your sanity. A student should be able to tell why the Socratic Method is useful and why it may not be useful at other times (This is just an example). He should be able to articulate clearly why he thinks the Big Bang theory is wrong. Sadly, our educational system is keen on producing slaves rather than individuals. I had previously written about Classical and Romantic Understanding and its classifications; Conservative classical, Radical classical and conservative romantic and Radical romantic understanding. Let's just say that of all the types, the persons falling into the first two categories are likely to be become socially awakened individuals. We know that romantics can't become individuals (Please take a look at the article for definitions). We'll now discuss conservative classical and radical classical understanding with respect to Individuality briefly. Does Conservative Classical Understanding create an individual?

While it's an undeniable fact that people falling into conservative classical category are conformists (not hardcore conformism), they are still classical thinkers. I would personally opine that their thinking is flexible. Flexible as in they don't have preconceived notions. So they have the highest probability of becoming Individuals. The reasons why radical Classical Understanding can not create an Individual Radical Classical thinkers may be biased or prejudiced because the ambiguity of their thoughts may overweigh their intentions. They have every qualification to become an individual but they lose their individuality with their ego. The social consciousness is reduced to zilch when they let their ego destroy them.

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