Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.
Here’s an article on the syndrome of individualism I thought pertinent to the divide in culture between the US and most other countries, including Ecuador. For those readers who do not read Spanish, the general thesis of the article revolves around the extrem depersonalization of modern society and the encapsulation of individuals in their own private universes, symptoms of the culture of individualism. It discusses the regularly accepted attitude in the United States that one should stay completely out of anyone else’s business (not that we should all be sticking our noses in everybody else’s business either; but it is a good idea to at least know your neighbors). This trend has long existed in big cities like New York, but now can be found even in small towns, like Kirkwood, Missouri. It cites both the case of Shawn Hornbeck, the boy who went missing for over four years and was only ten miles from his hometown, and Vincenzo Ricardo, who had died in his home in Suffolk, Long Island, his death only to be discovered a year after it happened. It also discusses the increasing solitude and reduction in the size of people’s social circles; the flip side of this is the growth in computer use, the pet industry, and other surrogates for human company.
This trend in the modern world can hardly be seen as positive. While individualism does have its triumphs in the great achievements many have made, the trend towards separation from others, evidenced primarily by the growing number of people living alone, and the growing absence of extended family, can only have a negative influence on the cohesion of society’s social fabric.