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Mary Doyle
Mr. King
English I
19 December, 2016
The Importance of Individualism in Modern Culture
What makes each of the seven billion people on this planet different from one another?
Arising from this question is the concept of individuality, which can only be rightfully achieved
when an individual caters to his or her personal needs before the needs of a group. In modern
society, citizens are so blinded by the importance of fitting in and being selfless that the majority
of them neglect their own needs, leaving them dissatisfied and depressed. It is paramount that
individual needs and desires are put above those of the collective so that individuals can find a
sense of purpose, individuality, and confidence to contribute thoughtfully to society.
When arguing for individualism, it is important to emphasize that in todays world,
individuals are perfectly capable of living independently (Dobrin). People in society are given a
number of inalienable rights such as the right to life and freedom of religion (The). Having these
individual freedoms and rights deems human beings capable of living independently and making
their own decisions. In fact, it is possible that for some individuals, working in a group does
more harm than good. In some cases, the more dedicated and hard-working individuals are taken
advantage of for the benefit of the collective when they would most likely be better off living on
their own.
For example, in Animal Farm, Boxer was very powerful and was easily the most
diligent worker on the farm, but he was persuaded to work continuously for the collective.
Amidst all his hard work, he neglected to realize that he was getting older and could not endure

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the same amount of labor as he once could. This led to Boxers injury, which then resulted in
Napoleon impetuously sending Boxer to his death (Orwell, 123). Focusing on the needs of a
group instead of ones own can leave an individual disillusioned, which is why it is crucial to put
individual needs first to prevent these hapless occurrences.
Individualism encourages people to be more confident in thinking differently and
creatively. Without the advancements of people who think innovatively, society would be
prehistoric with little enhancements. It is clear that no two people are born with the same ideas;
any idea or revolution can be traced back to the single person that led the way. According to
Richard Koch, Individualism has been an enormous success in encouraging ordinary people to
realize their potential and their inner-depths (Koch). Allowing individuals to focus on
self-advancement versus aiding the collective permits them to work creatively without being held
back by the doubts or criticisms of people around them. These individuals are able to think
imaginatively without the fear of rejection or judgment they would likely receive if they were to
fail. Having this sense of individual confidence is critical to the development of a high
self-esteem, which increases the well-being of people within society.
Despite the evidence providing that individualism is more important, many people
continue to believe that collectivism is more beneficial to society. These people fail to see that a
collective is a group of INDIVIDUALS; a group is worthless and unproductive if the individuals
within it are unfulfilled and lacking motivation (Biddle). Those who believe in collectivism
claim that working in a group is more productive and that a consensus formed by a collective is
more accurate. Although parts of this argument are enticing, it ultimately fails to be a stronger
argument because it is actually harder to reach a consensus when there are an increased number

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of opinions to consider. Disagreements between people in a group can lead to time being wasted
on arguments regarding what is most important. Alternatively, when working alone, there is no
one to disagree with the individuals ideas, therefore no time is wasted trying to reach a decision.
Focusing on individualism is more important for humanity because, with billions of
people inhabiting planet Earth, it is becoming more necessary for each person to have differing
qualities to increase diversity among human beings. Individuals deserve the freedom to think
creatively for their own advancement and are clearly capable of providing for themselves
without being bound to a group. For these reasons, it is paramount that the individual needs are
put above the needs of the collective so that the individuals can find a sense of purpose,
individuality, and confidence to contribute thoughtfully to society. It is critical for individuals in
modern culture to focus on their own needs and pursue their own sense of individuality. Many
people, particularly young adults, are undecided on what they want to pursue in the future
because they have been deprived of exposure to different areas of employment. Teens are too
caught up in social norms to discover creative outlets and ways to truly express themselves
(Gilewicz). It is also important to note that the majority of people who prioritize their own needs
are not selfish; individuals must learn to care for themselves before they can effectively care for
others (Vibes). In fact, true individuals get their kicks from using their talents in a cause in
which they believe. We develop ourselves for a higher cause, because that is the route to
happiness and meaning (Koch). Individuals should be encouraged to stand out and resist
blending in with a collective, as well as caring for their own needs before assisting people around
them. Without focusing on personal needs first, individuals are less able to support others, which
ultimately leads to the conclusion that individualism should be prioritized in society.

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Works Cited
Biddle, Craig. Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice . The Objective
Standard, The Objective Standard,
www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2012-spring/individualism-collectivism/#.
Dobrin, Arthur. Can You Live Alone and Be Happy? Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,
LLC, 17 Mar. 2012,
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/am-i-right/201203/can-you-live-alone-and-be-happy.
Gilewicz, Maggie. Why Young Adults Don't Know What to Do With Their Lives And What
Can Be Done About It? The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 1 Apr. 2016,
www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-maggie-gilewicz/why-young-adults-dont-kno_b_9589786.ht
ml.
Koch, Richard. Is Individualism Good or Bad? The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com,
23 Jan. 2014,
www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-koch/is-individualism-good-or-_b_4056305.html.
Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York, Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1954.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Welcome to the United Nations: It's Your World,
United Nations, www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/.
Vibes, John. Why Individualism Is More Compassionate than Collectivism. Activist Post,
Creative Commons 2016, 2 Mar. 2012,
www.activistpost.com/2012/03/why-individualism-is-more-compassionate.html.