formation of an individual
The formation of an individual:
Cases, Terms, & Tools
Man needs a polity, and in the same way a polity needs man. This is the focus of the first chapter in the formation of an individual. The formation of an individual is a very complicated process, yet it is a process that is very necessary. Through the formation of some types of government man tries to form himself from his acquired beliefs. The most basic form of government is a couple, but it branches out to entire societies. In these societies there are certain issues that the individual must deal with, the first is oppression.
Oppression is probably the hardest of all of the problems that one faces on his road to humanization. Oppression is a single force, held by few, that prevents others from reaching their status. This form of inequality can be seen in almost all forms of government, save anarchism because there are no superiors that can oppress. We saw this oppression in the movie AA Dry White Season@. This movie summarized the problems with injustice, inequality, and oppression. In order for us to become more fully human, and move along on our road to our own formation we must break free from our oppressors. By breaking free, you are not starting a war, or even a conflict, but you are actively participating in your own realization.
Before we can break free of the oppression that I just described we must first be able to realize when we are being oppressed. Through a complicated process of influence we gain our own thoughts, words, and actions. It first starts with our own set of beliefs. Most likely the ones that our parents set for us. But after we gain that first sense of who we are, and who we should be, then and only then can we realize if we are oppressed. We must understand the actions of ourselves before we can understand those of others.
On the journey to create our own individuality we need to be influenced because after we are influenced we can then Aweed out@ the ideas that most likely conform to our own opinions. This onion is the most effective tool or method in the formation of an individual.
Paulo Friere addressed the issue of oppression and why it must be stopped in his essay APedagogy of the Oppressed.@ In this essay he dictates that through education we can and must stop oppression. Yet this Abreaking free@ cannot be an individual effort, but a combine summation of forces. Near the beginning of his essay he says that man must break free of the chains that bind him to his master because this is not how it was supposed to be. By using it I mean his existence. We were all meant to be free. ABut while both humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives only the first is man=s vocation@(28). More over humanization = freedom. Freedoms is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an ideal which becomes a myth. It is rather an indispensable condition for the quest of human completion. Throughout Paulo=s entire article he stresses the importance that this needed freedom has, and without freedom we are nothing more than just shadows, we can never better ourselves but only stay the same unless our master, the shadow caster changes.
We must liberate ourselves from this situation, but without mutual cooperation a goal of liberation is quite impossible. Friere says Aliberation is thus a childbirth, and a painful one. The man who emerges is a new man, viable only as the oppressor - oppressed contradiction is superseded by the humanization of all men@(33). It is necessary for men to liberate himself from his master, and likewise it is necessary for all men to liberate themselves. Throughout Friere=s=s entire article we can deduce the theme that humanization is the pinnacle of existence, and like any human being we all seek the pinnacle. But the hardest goal in achieving this humanization is the first step in overcoming oppression. Once oppression is conquered, humanization is a more possible goal.
The initial steps in the formation of an individual must the conscious realization of who we are, then we must decipher all of the restraints that hold us back form who we want to be. Next we join hands and begin our quest of humanization. Once we have been humanized through the combined effort of all that seek the same as we do we can then and only then become a free individual.
The formation of an individual:
Guiding Principles, Choices, & Limitations
After we realize who we are and begin our path of humanization we must try to understand why we are oppressed, and once we understand this, we can more fully understand ourselves. Through our own guiding principles, choice, and limitations that we face in our lives we consciously form who we are.
The onion once again comes into play here. In fact it might be at this time where it is the most influential. Through our developmental stages as a child to our maturization as an adult we are constantly perceiving the world differently. This is a necessary thing because this means that we are always changing, from now until we die. We saw that this was extremely apparent in both the AChildhood@ movies and in AElephant Man@. In the beginning of AElephant Man@ the elephant man was an outcast--- a societal freak. But as time slowly drug its feet he gained respect from the doctor and eventually gained love from the doctor.
In the childhood movies we viewed the perpetual change in the behavior of kids. In fact we saw the slow and painful development of who they were as a person. This ever changing opinion of the world around us can be seen through the onion once more. Influences constantly change our feelings for other people and other things.
We are forever changing our views of the world and through this Aperpetual flux@ we slowly Atest out@ different view points. The perpetual flux is the most apparent way that we can investigate the way we form ourselves. Through their changing we are already on the road to a more fully human life, and through liberation from our oppressors human completion is only one more step away. And after all human completion is the goal of all mankind.
The founder of this idea of Aperpetual flux@ is David Hume. He says, very much like the onion theory, that we are nothing more than our perceptions. Like the onion, Hume says that everything we see / hear, or even more, anything and everything we experience through our senses changes us just a little bit. Hume claims that since we are nothing more than our perceptions when we no longer perceive we no longer exist. From David Hume=s essay AOf Personal Identity@ comes this quote: AWhen my perceptions are removed for any time, as by sound sleep, as long as I am insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist. And were all my perceptions removed by death, and could I neither think, nor feel, nor see, nor love, nor hate, after the dissolution of my body, I should be entirely annihilated, nor do I conceive what is further requisite to make me a perfect non-entity@(187). From this I will derive the statement that a perpetual flux or perpetual movement is as necessary as life is to an individual. Anyone who is not in a perpetual flux does not exist.
Through a perpetual flux we unconsciously decide what the best method of achieving humanization is. Somewhat like Peck=s theory of development, we constantly test different situations in our subconscious, and before we even comprehend the situations most of the perceptions are already removed. Our sub-conscious is a certain type of filter, even better, our subconscious is a special type of filter that Aweeds out@ many raw ideas before they even reach our conscious.
So through our perpetual flux we are determining what the best type of individual is for us. Through an unconscious reality we slowly weed out and pick different situations that all have different outcomes. This is all happening during the formation of an individual, and with this formation process we are that much closer to what we perceive liberation and the humanization of our own selves. Yet we must keep in mind that a changing opinion is good, in fact it is nearly required. Actually, a perpetual flux is required.
The formation of an individual:
Economic, Religious, & Political
With economic, religious, and political influences all laying far away from the beginning / origin of the onion once can only venture to say that they are the least important. If one is not careful these can be the prime candidates of oppression. Everywhere economic, religious, and political oppression exists. In the movie AGandhi@ we saw all of the oppression that was in different parts of the world. And through Satyagraha we all saw the joint liberation and the humanization of all men, at least the ones that participated in the non-violence.
From other sources we learned that we do have a say in our own religions and political communities, we must know how to use our powers to our advantage. In the same way that we benefit from our own economic situations, religious standpoint, and political view, we are also restrained by them as well. If we do not have the proper resources [budget project] we are oppressed by money, and all that is attached by money. If we belong to a religious community, or even if we don=t, we can still be the victims of oppression. Whether we are oppressed because we belong or we don=t belong, religious oppression is everywhere. Finally come political oppressions. This is probably the worst one, because it happens in large numbers, and it also happens all of the time. We are often oppressed by the government that we function in.
This is where Gandhi professed his beliefs. Satyagraha was a fight for our rights as a struggling individual in an oppressive relationship. In the same way Emerson said that self government is a Areal@ alternative to Political oppression. His basic argument was since we all have our own views, and own our own property, then we all should have an equal voice. If we are not given this needed voice, we must find an alternative.
In Emerson=s AThe Idea of Self-Government@ Emerson stresses the importance of a functional government, he does not say Anarchy is the only way to achieve this, but it is a way. He says that man needs a good government, and if one cannot be provided he must maintain his own. From Emerson=s essay AThe Idea of Self-Government@ come this quote about the perfect government. AThe idea after which each community is aiming to make and mend its law, is the will of the wise man. The wise man it cannot find nature, and it makes awkward but earnest efforts to secure his government by contrivance;@(150) This means that the perfect government is at peace with itself and its members, or the Awill of the wise man@. In a perfect government personal rights are also very important, the mutual respect of all is needed in the creation of a government. As the respect for these rights increases, oppression decreases, and peace is closer. APersonal rights, universally the same, demand a government framed on the ration of the census; property demands a government framed on the ratio of owners and of owning@(134). This is a fundamental truth that we all must accept. Everything is relative in our world / society, and in government there are no exceptions. Mutual respect and the active awareness of all is required or government can no longer exist.
Not only in political freedom is this prevalent, but in Religious freedom this is obvious too. In most cases Religious freedom is just as important as political freedom, and sometimes religious freedom is even more important. Religious freedom is placed below political freedom many times because their is much more political oppression than there is religious oppression. But this does not mean that religious freedom does not exist. Voltaire writes in his philosophical dictionary that religious freedom is very important. AIf you can have 2 religions among you they will massacre each other, but if you have 30 they will live in peace.@ This is a fundamental truth that we all must understand. If we force people into religion they will undoubtedly start to fight, but if we let them believe what they want to believe, then they will not be oppressed, or thought of as oppressed and therefore will live in religious harmony. And once this harmony is reached humanization is inevitable.
It is impossible to deny the existence of oppression and the forceful influence by others in our world. But this oppression must be confronted, whether it be through peaceful resistance, such as Satyagraha, or through bloodied warfare. The outcome is the same either way, you are fighting for a just cause and combining forces not because you are forced to, but because people share the same feelings as you. This is not wrong, yet good to have people join in mutual consent. Like Emerson says, people, as long as they have an equal part in the government, can live in harmony. This harmony is necessary for peaceful cooperation, and the humanization of all men. With religion next, Voltaire boldly stated that religious freedom is needed for a homeostasis to be reached from different viewpoints. Through mutual respect the humanization of all men is not but one more hill on the path towards freedom.
The formation of an individual:
By nature society oppresses. By nature religion oppresses. By nature everything that does not coincide with our beliefs oppresses. There is no other way to rid the world of oppression, but there is a way around it.
Before we can understand oppression we must first understand ourselves. Through the Aonion effect@ we gain an awareness of our world around us. As we perceive this world we are constantly changing, always in a perpetual flux. A perpetual flux is most likely the most significant of all of the ways we form our self. The formation of an individual is a long and tiring process, yet it must be done. There is no other alternative. Once we understand who we are through the onion, and all of our perceptions we are now ready to understand the machine called oppression.
Oppression exists everywhere, and the only way to break free is to gain control of our own individuality and join hands in a crusade towards humanization. Whether it be Satyagraha or any peaceful resistance, as long as the force is of mutual consent, then the only plausible outcome is victory. And furthermore victory for the individual as well as a victory for the entire brigade. When the victory is won we have broken the engine of oppression, but the machine still exists. As long as thee is mutual peace, as opposed to forced peace, the engine will stay broken and liberation will be inevitable. But if oppression rises up again ABut almost always, during the initial stage of the struggle, the oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors, or >sub-oppressors=. The very structure of their thought has been conditioned by the contradictions of the concrete, existential situation by which they were shaped. Their idea is to be men; but for them, to be men is to be oppressors.@ Such as the switching of roles in the oppressor - oppressed relationship, the engine will be fixed / replaced. After the engine is replaced by this newly found false generosity the gears will turn and the machine of oppression will stalk again. Welcome to the hatemachine?
We must dodge this effect and stand tall for what we believe in. Yet mutual respect must exist. Through peaceful cooperation, liberation into freedom has already happened.
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