login about faq

I ask not only: Is individualism good? But: Is it the best?

A challenge to individualism

  1. A collective need not conflict with or be opposed with personal values via a system of public discussion outlined below.
  2. A collective could be built on the strictest application of logic and science; plurality of values may filter into public discussion where a system like pragma-dialectics conducts the process where disputes are resolved, and succeeding conclusions get integrated into public policy. The people get their choice, their say their part, and the reward and it must be in the end scientific.
  3. The perfect collective would be virtually a brain integrating the will of the people filtered by pragma-dialectic into the strictest logic and science and implemented into public policy; the outcomes of policy would effect the discussion process and the system would like a grand intelligence learning from experience. So, I would support the idea of a hive mind or collective brain. No one person would rule, only the scientific and logic distillation of the collective would rule. Stupidity would never effect policy, it would always filter though discussion and science, and little insights would be integrated.
  4. All the needs individualism proposes to fill, I believe a collective can do better. It's about delegating tasks in the most efficient manner. And uncooperative solely-self-interested individuals are not for task-delegation but appropriation, not global efficiency but for profit, right?
  5. Objectivists have the bad points or fears of collectivism noted, good feedback for collectivists to note and learn from.
  6. The brain is essentially a collective of neural centres and it is the most effective system in the world we know of; neural networks, why not take it to the next level, on the human level? Society could be arranged like a neural centre.

I have looked it up and there is such a term for this: Noocracy

Mikhail Epstein defined Noocracy as "the thinking matter increases its mass in nature and geo- and biosphere grow into noosphere, the future of the humanity can be envisioned as noocracy--that is the power of the collective brain rather than separate individuals representing certain social groups or society as whole."

Fears and doubts of individualism

I believe laissez-faire capitalism would translate into plutocratic elitism: the wealthy and strong would rule and exploit the poor and weak, and it would lead to cronyism: favouring your relatives irrespective of their ability. The ends in this case does not justify the means: exploitation as an ends falsifies freedom as a means. Just as you either shot the hoop in basketball or you don't, the ends do just the means, if outcomes of laissez-faire are unsatisfactory, then the means cannot be justified, it serves no point.


  • Consolidated intelligence as a form of government
  • Advancing science as the foundation of any law.
  • Collective intelligence e.g. modulated robots that cooperate to achieve tasks they could not do alone.

If you disagree let me know, I can not only criticise objectivism, but also form alternatives that tackle its basic disagreements with collectivism or other forms of individualism. I like the idea of collectivism and with imagination it believe there is hope it can overcome complaint, but if it can't I will take note. I still need to familiarise myself with Rand's works, but this is based on my impression/conception so far.

asked Dec 26 '11 at 17:04

Adeikov's gravatar image


edited Dec 27 '11 at 22:41


Is individualism good? For whom? Is it the best? For whom? There is no such thing as a "hive mind". You are advocating for a dressed-up form of tyranny of the majority.

(Dec 26 '11 at 19:32) Donovan Donovan's gravatar image

Anyone can debate on any issue, and it is not the majority but the smartest arguments at the end of a dialectic process that are considered, and then the range of argument for a policy change is weighed against science.

(Dec 26 '11 at 19:59) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

"Pragma-dialectics" is a clue. People get together to present ideas, while adhering to the rules of argument, you handle criticism and doubt, and your critics must follow the rules too; the result is a rational resolution between many minds of differing initial positions about athe idea under discussion.

So, ultimately argumentation is the engine, individuals supply fuel of ideas and argument.

By science, I mean the body of established knowledge used as standard to judge the viability of the ideas, maybe by testing for untested ideas. You could assign a weight based on science to the idea.

(Dec 26 '11 at 20:57) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

Can you clarify? Words like "dialectic process" confuse me. Who is "considering" ? Who is "weighing" ?

(Dec 27 '11 at 14:59) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

Instead of being one sided, we decide to hold all sides in mind & resolve the whole matter. The whole elephant, not just a single patch. People come together as a team to resolve the whole matter openly rather than as contenders to win a piece closedly.

  1. The determination of the concept out of itself [the thing itself must be considered in its relations and in its development];
  2. The contradictory nature of the thing itself (the other of itself), the contradictory forces & tendencies in each phenomenon;
  3. The union of analysis & synthesis. | …the elements of dialectics. (By Lenin)
(Dec 27 '11 at 18:54) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

Pragma-dialectics is a recent innovation in dialectics.

The piece Lenin describes is Dialectic Materialism. It is just a tool of reason. It is the method from which most collectivist materialism comes from. So, blame the method if you will, rather than those that tried it out, & as you would complain caused deprivation.

I am sure all Objectivist complaints have been tried in that method/tool. And either they were resolved or are in suspended animation waiting for resolution of issues in it.

With open free mind, I consider collectivism & individualism, both enthused & frustrated by duality.

(Dec 27 '11 at 19:10) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

I am only giving you my own conception thus far, with the help of Wikipedia and other resource. And I try to do it in a manner congenial and cogent to those I discuss it with. I am totally willing to demote or promote the status of any idea in my head in midst of public discussion to resolve the contradictions.

So, when I consider things with Objectivists, they are also a team in helping me debug ideas. Plus, their Objectivism might just rub off on me, and angle my dialectic enough to consider collective ideas more critically.

(Dec 27 '11 at 19:24) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image
showing 2 of 7 show all

"All the needs individualism proposes to fill, I believe a collective can do better."

Then your belief is in tragic conflict with the facts.

My chief need is to be able to use my basic tool of survival to pursue my life and happiness. Being a human -- a rational animal -- my basic tool of survival is my rational mind, and I can only use it if I am left free to look at the facts of reality and act according to my judgement. This is why individualists are so careful to state the purpose of a legitimate government: to secure individual rights -- which is just a fancy way of saying that the purpose is to create a circumstance where everyone is left free to peacefully pursue their lives and happiness, alone and cooperatively, as they each see fit.

Objectivists are focused on achieving a form of government that will actually fulfill the most important need of humans. You are focused on achieving a form of government that -- by definition -- will do the opposite.

I would ask that you please stop treating people as playthings; my life is not a toy for you to arrange.

answered Dec 27 '11 at 12:16

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

In a way, you are saying basically "There is only one path to heaven" or "capitalism is only means by which individual needs are met, their basic rights served, their freedom gained."

I have tried to make my challenge fill those needs, wants & freedoms while envisioning an intelligent collaboration for the greater benefit of everyone. I simply imagine another means. We are already in a system, I cannot refuse it, it would not listen, & it would take a mass refusal to say no.

In my system, the system is always listening and caring for people a scientific manner, heard in noise of the crowd.

(Dec 27 '11 at 12:43) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

No, I am saying directly: you are specifically violating a fundamental need I have with your system. Not only does it fail to fill this basic need, it does the very opposite. There is no amount of "benevolent" tweaking that will change this simple fact. Your system is an immediate and total Fail for this reason.

(Dec 27 '11 at 12:53) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

You are free to use rational mind in argument among other rational minds to affect public policy directly, through a filter of doubt and science. Do you doubt the best of wisdom has you in mind? A wisdom that includes everyone's input and the weight of science?

The question is: Why would you refuse a system that delivered, in concord with everyone and science, the best wisdom that can be delivered?

(Dec 27 '11 at 14:28) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

You are evading the simple fact that individualists in a capitalist system are (truly) free to learn from and cooperate with others on every scale, tiny and vast. Indeed, individualists are uniquely characterized by their seeking the considered, rational cooperation of others. Individualism doesn't mean isolation -- it means freedom from coercion.

You are proposing the opposite, and that constitutes a complete and utter failure to deliver on the most basic social need that humans have. The only tweak to your system that can fix that is the tweak which makes it capitalism.

(Dec 27 '11 at 15:06) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

An individual's wisdom is bounded by the limitations of individual experience. We tend to suffer from confirmation bias when left to our own minds, & an individual is only as rational as his mind will go. So we do NEED others to make us sane people, without doubt & alternate perspectives & proposals of others, we become blind by accumulated bias and prejudice of a partial view of reality. Rand may have viewed pieces of reality but she is not omniscient & infallible.

Many minds in concert can go much farther to the horizon of rationality, they can doubt each other and remove bias, in argument.

(Dec 27 '11 at 16:03) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

I promote independent rational thinking, I just ask it be focused into argumentation designed to form enduring arguments. And enduring arguments would form the basis of public policy with scientific weight applied.

So, the government would BE the people integrated as one minus the irrational, the biased and the ignorant, but since everyone would take part, they would know why they were wrong, and the best option is to learn or employ others to help develop their thinking beyond their capacity & give a review, a feedback process, till they are happy that the developed ideas align with theirs.

(Dec 27 '11 at 16:19) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

Adeikov, you seem to be throwing up dust rather than responding rationally to the identification of a fatal weakness in your approach.

I'll repeat it since you seem to be unable to pick it out: You would FAIL to deliver on the MOST IMPORTANT need humans have in a social context, and would instead deliver the OPPOSITE.

As for your distractions: Free individuals are MORE able to leverage the wisdom of others, not less. Please stop repeating this straw man. And nobody said Rand was omniscient or infallible (nor does anyone need her to be). You aren't fooling anyone with these clumsy maneuvers.

(Dec 27 '11 at 16:24) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

What is this flaw? What is this need? Tell me and I will consider.

I think you mean:

  1. Freedom of reason : There is freedom of reason, but it is focused.

  2. Freedom of association : You can leave the hive or abstain from the hive. But you must not try to destroy it, when it is something people value and use.

  3. Freedom from coercion : You are not a prisoner of the hive. But you do not have the right to coerce or control the hive's actions, without participation in it.

(Dec 27 '11 at 18:16) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image
showing 2 of 8 show all


You really ought to read Atlas Shrugged. I know that was already suggested to you recently and you said you might do so. Here is a description of it by Ayn Rand:

The story of Atlas Shrugged presents the conflict of two fundamental antagonists, two opposite schools of philosophy, or two opposite attitudes toward life. As a brief means of identification, I shall call them the "reason-individualism-capitalism axis" versus the "mysticism-altruism-collectivism axis." The story demonstrates that the basic conflict of our age is not merely political or economic, but moral and philosophical -- that the dominant philosophy of our age is a virulent revolt against reason -- that the so-called redistribution of wealth is only a superficial manifestation of the mysticism-altruism-collectivism axis -- that the real nature and deepest, ultimate meaning of that axis is anti-man, anti-mind, anti-life.

(This excerpt is from Ayn Rand's article, "Is Atlas Shrugging," published as Chapter 15 in her book, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.)

In Atlas Shrugged, Part III Chapter I, John Galt explains to Dagny:

"We've heard so much about strikes," he said, "and about the dependence of the uncommon man upon the common. We've heard it shouted that the industrialist is a parasite, that his workers support him, create his wealth, make his luxury possible -- and what would happen to him if they walked out? Very well, I propose to show to the world who depends on whom, who supports whom, who is the source of wealth, who makes whose livelihood possible and what happens to whom when who walks out."

Adeikov, your description of a collectivist world does not mention (evades, actually) that facts that man has a rational faculty which operates volitionally, is man's basic means of survival, and is inherently an individual process, not a collective one. Man can choose whether to support your collective or not. What would you do if someone chooses not to support it? Execute him? Surgically alter his brain so as to destroy his rational faculty? What do you think would happen to your collective if all the men of the mind were to be eradicated or otherwise removed? Do you think your collective would still be able to exist and function? Who would provide the material and intellectual values it would need? Do you think (like Marx) that the physical labor of the masses would be enough? You would quickly find out that it is not.

You write: collectivism is "about delegating tasks in the most efficient manner. And uncooperative solely-self-interested individuals are not for task-delegation but appropriation, not global efficiency but for profit, right?"

No, that's not right. Whenever voluntary, private (non-governmentally imposed) associations serve the self-interests of the participants, the participants willingly enter into such associations voluntarily, if left free to do so and if they see that they would be better off by doing so; and under capitalism, they do see it. It's the economic principle known as division of labor and the benefits of mutually voluntary trade for mutual benefit. That is what makes capitalism so effective as the optimal form of social organization for man. Capitalism is actually best described as the system of cooperation, on an astounding scale, unmatched by any other system ever devised by man. It is not a system of "dog-eat-dog law-of-the-jungle" or "exploitation of the masses by the fat cats."

As for "appropriation," no one is allowed to engage in "appropriation" of others' property by physical force of any kind under capitalism. Capitalism is the system of individual rights. The initiation of physical force against others is strictly prohibited in a capitalist system (laissez-faire capitalism), but it is thoroughly integrated into every form of government-enforced collectivism. Physical force, in turn, paralyzes the mind, man's essential tool of survival; it is utterly and profoundly anti-life for man. (Man is differrent from non-human animals in this respect; non-human animals don't have rational faculties, and they don't rely on rationality for survival.)

You've said that you judge a theory by (a) its logic, (b) evidence, and (c) its beauty. Yet the "pancritical rationalism with Extropian values" that you profess to uphold makes short shrift of "evidence," i.e., facts of reality. Indeed, PCR explicitly strives to avoid any concept of an objective reality at all, and Extropianism ignores the issue of what makes technology and science possible. (Those who are interested can learn more about "Pancritical rationalism" from a Wikipedia article that Adeikov explicitly cited and quoted from in another recent thread, and about "Extropianism" from another Wikipedia article on that topic.)

I hope you are sincere in claiming to be moved by evidence (of objective reality). That is the only objective basis for deciding between a potentially elegant "construct" of altruism and collectivism, and a fully rationally integrated (reality based) system like capitalism and the wider philosophy of reason-egoism-individualism on which it depends.

answered Dec 26 '11 at 19:49

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

Bear in mind, there is a difference between an untested plan and a failed plan. So, it is a proposal.

I believe individualism can fit inside the collectivism; individual activity at the bottom and collective singularity at the top; people put their ideas and values in a system of resolution of differing positions, the enduring arguments lead into weighing with science, and the soundest most enduring ideas and values help form public policy.

It is participatory, there is a chance for anyone to impact the result, but they must resolve doubts and dispute in a system of resolution.

(Dec 26 '11 at 20:18) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

You are setting up a unobtainium man argument (the reverse of a straw man). What's the point of comparing A vs B (your collective hive-mind) when B is perfect and fictional?

answered Dec 26 '11 at 17:42

Humbug's gravatar image


edited Dec 26 '11 at 17:44

There are examples in nature where collective intelligence trumped individual intelligence; I think there are. Or where individuals benefitted most in cooperation.

I believe it would be perfect, and holds more fruit than liassez-faire, more like an all-is-one idea.

(Dec 26 '11 at 17:47) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

If you want to be a sacrificial animal by all means go be one. Just don't take me with you.

(Dec 26 '11 at 17:48) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Another thing is a system called "deliberative democracy" emulates this approach, so it might not be so fictional, and every system had its visionaries, right?

(Dec 26 '11 at 17:55) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

It is not a sacrifice when the reward is expected; remember the loan question, where it was said to be a just transaction?

(Dec 26 '11 at 17:59) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

If the hive-mind tells me to do something, am I allowed to say no?

(Dec 26 '11 at 18:53) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

What happens when you don't vote is what will happen if you can't argue why the policy is wrong. The system is like democracy but built on public discussion by a deliberative process of dispite resolution, so your idea would competite in a system designed to resolve disputes among ideas, doubts.

See wiki: Pragma-dialectics

It is a tried and test method of argument designed to order a resolution among differing positions.

(Dec 26 '11 at 20:32) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

My father once described to me how communists go about indoctrinating you. They would organize a discussion group where fellow communists would sit there and debate with you as the sole defender of your idea. Eventually, they will get you caught in a contradiction which causes you to doubt yourself and surrender your mind to them. This is his own personal experiences being in a communist re-education camp for over 5 years.

So I'll ask you my question again more specifically. Am I allowed to say no to the hive-mind? Even if I am incapable of justifying to it why I refuse?

(Dec 27 '11 at 01:34) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Options: 1. The hive-mind would counsel you to see if there was a way to help you. 2. The hive-mind decides an arrangement for non-hive people, that is okay for the hive & for the non-hive people. And I am sure you would be free to return or leave the hive from/to the non-hive districts. 3. ?

Freedom of reason: You are free to use rational mind in argument among other rational minds to affect public policy directly, through a filter of doubt and science.

To refuse this: Why would you refuse a system that delivered, in concord with everyone and science, the best wisdom that can be delivered?

(Dec 27 '11 at 14:47) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

But you mustn't oppose or war against the hive, the hive would need to decide the response. Plus the hive would outwit any individual.

Remember that the hive-mind is the input of people and science to deliver the best of wisdom. So it is not inhuman, it has a heart and mind in its hive members and in science it is rational

(Dec 27 '11 at 14:52) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

So participation with the hive is optional? If I say no then the hive will leave me alone?

(Dec 27 '11 at 15:08) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Yes, you are not a prisoner to the hive. Unless you pick a newspaper dedicated to its findings. Or decide you want to enter an argument into discussion, the discussion may have rules of argument to settle disputes and disagreement by reason.

But I have confidence that its success might lure you back. You might like the idea of your contribution being part of public policy. Government would no longer be separate from the will of free-individuals, but with the peer-review, doubt and science as a filter, it would produce the best wisdom that could be delivered. It's better than democracy.

(Dec 27 '11 at 16:42) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

How is this different than a society of free individuals who can choose to form "hives" or disband them at will base on their self interests at the moment?

(Dec 27 '11 at 16:48) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Maybe there should regions for hive and non-hive people, or may they should live together with a little compromise to facilitate it?

(Dec 27 '11 at 16:48) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

You may want to eliminate the use of the term "collective" from your question. Most people associate that with the use of force to enforce the will of the collective. What you've described so far is less collective than what we have today in the USA.

(Dec 27 '11 at 17:04) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

I'd go with the most congenial, extensive, integrated, and connected form of the hive-mind that didn't harm its acceptance by hurting any freedom. It is a way for people to govern themselves that is also wise. Similar to the internet, only it has the power to change public policy. There would need to be arrangements for people that explicitly abstain from it personally and in business, without those things hurting or harming the hive that people value and use, it is the property of participants in hive network, a club good.

There is a science and collective intelligence that forms from it.

(Dec 27 '11 at 19:47) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

But all hives need to be a connected & integrated web, so that it doesn't form revival personalities.

And you would need safeguards to protect its members and that final decisions, are not interpreted, affected or judged by anyone, by a process of converting final decisions into public policy without anyone having knowledge or power on the process of the final decisions while in process, like the double-blind of science to prevent bias.

While the process is known, nobody would have knowledge of the final decisions nor the conversion of it to policy nor the policy till it is implemented.

(Dec 27 '11 at 20:06) Adeikov Adeikov's gravatar image

Sounds like your hive mind is just the fictional idea of using technology to make communication, argument and debate more efficient. If that is the case then I would say that it's irrational to not take advantage of such technology. Just the challenges of overcoming someone's misunderstanding of the meaning of a word or misuse of a word can save a significant amount of time. Again, if no coercion is used, then I fail to see why this is any different than an individualism society who utilizes good communication tools which make your original question redundant.

(Dec 27 '11 at 21:12) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image
showing 2 of 17 show all

Follow this question

By Email:

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



Answers and Comments

Share This Page:



Asked: Dec 26 '11 at 17:04

Seen: 1,346 times

Last updated: Dec 27 '11 at 22:41