If others determine your worth, you’ve already lost it.

Psychology isn’t really my thing. So I went ahead and assumed that sociology wasn’t going to it, either.

However, it is semi-intriguing.

I think that you will agree with me when I say that blogs were inspired by the need to be unique and have our own thoughts that are simultaneously held by the blogger alone and yet still relatable to the readers. In the blogosphere, there is definitely a realm of individualism that is praised. After all, the most unique blogs are the ones that get the most hits, ya? And yes, even the word “blogosphere” seems to imply a sort of community, but that isn’t exactly what most people are searching for when they begin a blog right?

Maybe it is. That wasn’t what I was looking for though. But the interesting part is this: maybe I wasn’t looking for it because I was American.

I was reading an article for my sociology class and I was struck upon this idea because “this rabid individualism is noteworthy because Americans, perhaps more than any other people, devalue loyalty to groups in favor of what they at least perceive as being individuals” (Simmel). Sounds crazy, right?

But it did make sense the more I thought about it.

The article went on:

“For example, when we walk down the street, or when we interact with strangers in any setting, what do we first see in people—individual personalities, or the groups that they seem to belong to (e.g., race, gender, or age)? Do we view their clothing as individual tastes, or as expressions of group memberships (businesspeople, students, working class, etc.)? What do our loved ones first ask about a guest whom we are going to invite home for dinner-the person’s personality traits, or their social affiliations?” (Brown).

And it’s true! I didn’t realize how blatant it was until someone pointed it out! I’m not sure what to do with this information now that I have it but I’m sure there will be another post once I collect my thoughts…you learn something new everyday. It’s a good thing I’m paying to get this sort of knowledge.

“Individuality, Society and Identity: Cornerstones of Sociological Reasoning” in Social Blueprints by David Brown (NY: Oxford University Press: 2004).

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2 thoughts on “If others determine your worth, you’ve already lost it.

  1. Kevin says:

    Great insight, Syd. Common language definitely doesn’t mean common culture. Americans, Canadians, Brits, and Aussies all speak roughly the same language but have very different cultures. I believe that “individualism” pervades the American culture and impacts everything from how we perceive our government to how we treat our neighbor. Americans tend not to trust their government while Canadians and Brits tend to assume their government will take care of them. The next question is how does one rule a nation of “individualists”.

  2. I completely agree on the point about the decline of group loyalty. As Beck would say, we are in an age of “elective affinity” where our associations are more fluid and don’t demand as deep of a commitment as early and pre-modern institutions.

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