Can Individualism be Considered a Myth?

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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The relationship between the individual and society is very closely related; they balance each other out. They both share a common element: practices. People implement various practices in their daily lives necessary for survival. Practices like communication or religion are vital for everyone to understand and connect with one another. These practices place us into categories that define each individual, whether they accept such labels or not. Society can’t coexist without individuality as people’s lives function within society, but society in return serves those people who live in it.

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Language is defining, revealing where a person is from, and is unlikely to vanish, as generations learn to connect and communicate using it. As long as language persists, so will the naming system. These two critical factors allow people to differentiate between each other or things. The naming system is the primary method for people to distinguish one thing or person from another. In the natural progression of life, every child is assigned a name by their parents, which stays with them forever. Since a name identifies a child, he or she is seen as part of a particular group in society. Therefore, names identify each individual as a member of a collective group and piece of their identity. Without these practices, people wouldn’t understand how humans act or interact with one another. Every society has a system of names and labels, all with one common thread: history. History explains the rationale for why something or someone is named and can reveal historical events tied to a birth year.

Underneath it all, the moment Emma became Emma and the minute others received their names, it became progressively clear that in today’s times, names carry an abundance of information about a person’s environment: where their ancestors and family are from, and their historical context. Knowing this, everyone is part of something larger. On the Social Security Administration’s name website, my name, “Christine,” reveals a lot about what happened during the most popular year it was chosen. In 1970, when my name was most popular, there were numerous wars and scandals happening globally, politically. One such occurrence was U.S President Richard Nixon ordering an invasion of Cambodia, which widened the Vietnam War. The name Christine, primarily used for females, translates to “follower of Christ.” In 1970, amidst global turmoil, people needed hope, so they turned to God and prayed for better days. Many endured hardships and sadness, while others were birthing babies. In that year, 16,061 babies were named Christine, which represents 0.877 percent of all female births in 1970. My name was chosen because of a social trend that represented hopelessness. Amidst the despair, people sought something hopeful.

Sociologists view individualism as a myth because everything is not always as it seems. People can’t always assume the worst of a situation when they don’t have the whole picture. Every person’s individualism is different, which is what makes it unique. However, this uniqueness can often be misunderstood. Everyone follows a religion they believe in, lives by a certain culture, and celebrates a set of traditions. Yet, people who don’t live the same life may view these as “weird” or “wrong”. Individualism is considered a myth because it uses uniqueness and differences to build a diverse society. This diversity contributes to the overall picture of society, preserving pieces of everyone’s distinctness. This way, people’s interpersonal networks and skills are used more to connect or empathize with each other during confidential conversations. If every individual is willing to be open to critique and revision, there will be fewer individualistic assumptions.

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Can individualism be considered a myth?. (2022, Nov 20). Retrieved from