login about faq

Here are a few thoughts I have borrowed from 'systems thinking':

All systems contains whole and parts. parts in turn are wholes containing parts and so on.

When we try to optimize parts without considering impact on 'whole', the system is doomed. eg: If we take best engine, best battery, best electronics from available car models and put together we never get best car but a pile of scrap. This is the essence of part-only optimization.

In short: Individualism is wrongly stuck in part-only optimization and will self-destruct over time.

We can see how this idea can be tremendously appealing to thriving 'parts' (i.e individuals). Soon the whole is going to come back with vengeance and screw all the parts too, as part-only optimization mathematically can't work.

Its a myth that 'individual parts' even exist, there are only whole-parts (holons). Individualism fails to grasp this.

So... shouldn't we infringe the rights of individual as and when needed so that health of whole-part relationship is preserved. Whole comes first, after-all parts are embedded in whole, destroy the interest of whole you successfully destroyed the parts too.

Here is one example: If parents are allowed to determine and choose the gender of their kids, basing free market 'I own my body' arguments soon that society will be doomed.

Is there something called moderate-individualism? I guess not... so what you think about this attack on individualism?

I realize this is age-old collectivist argument in different wrapper called 'systems thinking' and based on pragmatism ('to survive we need to violate individual rights'), but love to hear what you guys have in your mind.

Thanks

asked Nov 04 '13 at 23:46

dragonfish's gravatar image

dragonfish
6027

edited Nov 05 '13 at 00:46

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
1002425618


Individualism is wrongly stuck in part-only optimization and will self-destruct over time.

Translation: if individuals don't cooperate, they will suffer. The question's view of individualism fails to recognize that laissez-faire capitalism is the system of cooperation on a vast scale. It is simply not true that individuals function "with blinders on" under capitalism. Individuals can benefit enormously by rational productiveness and trade with other rational producers, and those who see that and take advantage of it will benefit the most.

"Systems thinking" may be an effective analytical tool for understanding the nuances of laissez-faire capitalism economically, but "systems thinking" cannot effectively prescribe whether or not laissez-faire capitalism should exist. The question of the optimal political system for human life is outside the scope of mathematical theories. It is fundamentally an issue for the science of philosophy.

We can see how this idea can be tremendously appealing to thriving 'parts' (i.e individuals). Soon the whole is going to come back with vengeance and screw all the parts too, as part-only optimization mathematically can't work.

"Part-only optimization" here means "social engineers" of some kind (unspecified) seeking to "optimize" an entire society by their theories and edicts. But the mathematics only describes what is; mathematics does not prescribe what ought to be and how to achieve it. One needs a different form of science to show why laissez-faire capitalism is vastly superior to any other form of social organization, by the standard of man's life qua man.

Its a myth that 'individual parts' even exist, there are only whole-parts (holons). Individualism fails to grasp this.

More information on "holons" can be found on Wikipedia under the topic of "holon (philosophy)." (There is also a Wikipedia entry on Holon, a city or region in Israel, which has no apparent connection to holons in philosophy.) Each "holon" is, in fact, a distinct individual, separate from other "holons." Separate, but not necessarily independent. It is independence that the "systems thinking" in this question actually denies, not the existence of individuals. Moreover, as the Wikipedia article explains, the holon perspective doesn't deny that individual holons are capable of acting as independent agents. The philosophical issue is whether or not they should act independently, and what that would actually mean in a system of laissez-faire capitalism.

If parents are allowed to determine and choose the gender of their kids, basing [on] free market 'I own my body' arguments[,] soon that society will be doomed.

Not necessarily. This is a biological evolution issue. Human enclaves that fail to reproduce will decline in number from one generation to the next. Enclaves that produce only males will likewise decline unless they happen to come into contact with other enclaves that produce a high percentage of female descendants, and interbreed between enclaves. No rational observer or mathematical theory can accurately predict that all or most enclaves will favor males rather than females, or vice versa, or favor non-reproduction over having children. And in a modern industrial-technological society, it is not necessary for all or even most individuals to engage in reproduction. The perpetuation of any species does not require universal reproduction, and the selectivity that occurs in reproductive opportunity greatly facilitates a species' positive evolutionary development.

I realize this is age-old collectivist argument in different wrapper called 'systems thinking' and based on pragmatism ('to survive we need to violate individual rights'), but love to hear what you guys have in your mind.

Yes, it's collectivism. It posits that there are individuals and there is "we," and the individuals need to be sacrificed to the "we." The argument as stated may try to claim that the "whole" exists for the benefit of the individuals, but a more philosophically consistent collectivist will quickly see that the actual ethical base needed for collectivism is altruism, not any appeal to individual self-interest -- the view that individuals exist only to serve the collective, the unspecified "we."

The result is not happiness and prosperity for individuals on earth, but an existence of earthly misery and suffering, death and destruction, as the actual history of collectivism has shown wherever it has been tried. In stifling individual freedom of action, collectivism robs itself of the productiveness that individuals can achieve and must achieve if man is to survive at all. So-called "systems thinking" is very, very mistaken to think that a "systems approach," imposed by physical force, will serve the needs and happiness of individuals. Historical collectivists have known this and don't view society as existing to further the lives of the individual members; collectivists say that individual happiness is illusory and unimportant, and that the duty of everyone is to serve the collective. It is thus that collectivism, not individualism, is self-annihilating, able to exist at all only by the grace of "the sanction of the victim," as Atlas Shrugged abundantly concretizes.

The description of "systems thinking" in the question also sounds deterministic, but man is not deterministic. He is not compelled to act in a specific way if he observes a better way, which can include cooperative trading with other productive individuals. Man survives by production and trade guided by reason, and reason does not work automatically or under compulsion.

The description of "systems thinking" in the question also sounds as if it starts with the "system" perspective as a premise, and then offers a long and convoluted circular argument to support of the conclusion that human societies, too, are "systems" of the same kind that "systems thinking" studies. That is not a logically valid approach to the understanding of human societies or the needs of man's life. Circular reasoning is a well recognized logical fallacy.

Again, if free individuals become convinced that cooperation with others would be mutually beneficial, they are perfectly free to cooperate -- unless a collectivist authority interferes. The assumption that individualism means focusing narrowly on oneself in isolation from all others is one of the classic errors (or smears) in the whole mysticism-altruism-collectivism tradition. There is a vastly superior way for man to live productively in secular life, in prosperity and happiness: reason-egoism-individualism-capitalism. Such a system will not self-destruct if man is allowed the freedom to function by the standard of man's life qua man, and if enough cultural leaders understand and support the system's underlying philosophy.

(In terms of the DIM Hypothesis, the question apparently classifies the conflict of "system" versus "individual" as a case of M versus D. But individualism is 'I', not D, and an "M over D" argument doesn't address the life-furthering potential that 'I' represents.)

answered Nov 07 '13 at 00:48

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦
467718

edited Nov 07 '13 at 00:54

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here

By RSS:

Answers

Answers and Comments

Share This Page:

Tags:

×26
×21

Asked: Nov 04 '13 at 23:46

Seen: 1,186 times

Last updated: Nov 07 '13 at 00:54