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Individualism-Collectivism Essay

Collectivism is the subjugation of the individual in favor of the group- whether such group pertains to a certain race, class or state. It subscribes to the idea that man is chained to collective action as well as collective thought for the sake of what is known as ‘the common good’ (Rand, 1988). A collectivist will always insist that the claims of groups, associations or the state must normally supersede the individuals’ claims (Grabill & Gronbacher, 2002).

On the other hand, an individualist regards man, every man, as an entity enjoying independence and sovereignty, possessing an inalienable right to his own life, a right that which is derived from his nature of one who is rational. Individualism contends that a society may be civilized and its members will be able to attain co-existence among each other if individual rights are recognized. The rights of the group are only the combination of the individual rights of its members (Peikoff, 1991).

Idiocentric and Allocentric are words refer to individualism and collectivism, respectively (Stryker, Owens & White, 2001). I am more of an idiocentric than allocentric. I have always believed that individual rights must be recognized and that the pursuit of each and everyone’s happiness would ultimately benefit the whole community or society. But then, in making efforts to build a happy life, I also believe an individual must not trample on others in so doing, instead, he or she must take pains to accomplish the same while being in cooperation with others.

Someone who is more allocentric will believe the contrary, he or she in my mind, may be likened to a martyr, one who will sacrifice his or her own individual happiness for the benefit of the welfare of the general public. Such would avoid the incidence of violating other people’s rights because everyone would be looking out for each other’s well-being. Seeing that these beliefs are clearly opposing, there is a huge probability that my views, which is more idiocentric, will come into conflict with someone who veers towards the allocentric side of the continuum.

The allocentric individual might misinterpret my efforts towards my self-realization as always being detrimental to others, which most of the time, if done with careful regard of the people around me, does not happen. On the other hand, the seeming loss of autonomy of allocentrics gives a possible bias or low regard to the allocentric person, because he or she does not display the value of ‘celebration of self’ which I hold dearly to. Such may bring about disagreements between us in many matters, especially in relation to determining ideal behavior in a certain group or society.


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