The San Diego Philosophy Forum is pleased to announce that its first lay-speaker, Mark Goodkin will speak on: "Conscious Individualism: The Antidote to Collectivism"
This event, open to the public, will take place 6:30-8:00 PM, Tuesday, April 23 at the North University Public Library: 8820 Judicial Dr. (near the 805 highway's Nobel Exit); Lib. ph. (858) 581-9637.
Light refreshments available. More information, if any, will be posted, as available, to SDPhil.org. Call (619)[masked] for details.
Mark Goodkin earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, during the height of the Reagan-era Cold War. On graduating, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked on Capitol Hill, serving as a Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter.
He subsequently worked as an Assistant to the Executive Director for the Committee for a Free Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. The Committee was a non-profit, lobbyist organization, which pushed for humanitarian and military aid to the Afghans, fighting against the Soviets. He then worked as Assistant to the Senior Advisor for High Frontier, Inc., a non-profit organization, dedicated to the implementation of anti-ballistic missile defense (ABM), in Arlington, VA. During the time of President Reagan, it promoted his so-called Star Wars initiative.
During his time in Washington, D.C., Mark became interested in self-publishing and turned his interest toward graphic design and publishing. He moved to St. Paul, MN, to pursue these skills, attending the College of Visual Arts, where he earned a BFA in Communication Design. Since then, he has been a graphic designer and website publisher, working on various projects for clients and, more recently, for himself.
Mark is the publisher of San Diego Coast Life, an online visitor’s guide to attractions, events, dining, and hotels in San Diego County. He also publishes a blog, called “Conscious Individualism: The Antidote to Collectivism.” His writing explains how we can enjoy individualism, and still solve our mounting problems, moving forward as a nation and planet.
Why Conscious Individualism?
I went to UCSD during the Cold War. As with many people, no matter what their political affiliation, I was concerned about rising tensions during the stalemate between the two super powers, and threat of nuclear war. I also became aware of the tyranny that the Soviet political system, collectivism in its most extreme form, posed for the rest of the world.
Although the Cold War has ended, we still live in perilous times. In fact, some experts believe we are headed for a “perfect storm” of converging problems, which transcend national boundaries. And, unless we address those problems soon, we will face certain disaster.
We ought to recognize that this is a period of great change – and great opportunity. If we choose so, we can move toward a path of positive change. And, what should that course be? One issue that rages is whether we should continue on the path of individualism, which we’ve enjoyed for almost two hundred forty years in the United States, or move toward a more collectivist society?
My concern is that there is a growing sentiment toward collectivism, as the means to solve our problems.
Proponents claim that collectivism is the inoculation against such a negative, morbid prophecy of doom. They say that, we need to shift to a new way of looking at ourselves and the world -- away from the individual’s pursuit of self-interest -- to a viewpoint which focuses on the interest of the whole, if we are to solve our problems and move forward, as individuals and as a society. They say that individualism, which served us well for generations, has run its course.
In response to the growing sentiment toward collectivism, I began developing the idea of Conscious Individualism almost four years ago.
I think the catalyst that moved me on this path was the Wall Street debacle and Presidential Race of 2008. During that time, our problems seemed to gain, ever growing, national attention. Meanwhile various proposals to combat such problems, including collectivism or a hybrid variant, were put forth and debated.
About a year and a half ago, when I had already begun to develop the idea of Conscious Individualism, I thought that, if I was going to defend individualism as a valid theory, I had to justify it from a philosophical position, and not merely from an appeal toward a higher power or “Natural Law.”
To that end, I became a student of philosophy. I wanted to understand the philosophical underpinnings, not only of our political system, but of others, as well, including collectivism. Up to this point, I never took philosophy seriously. However, I have found that in my studies, much insight can be gained from philosophy, not only as a justification for individualism, but as a guide to living one’s life.
We must ask whether “collectivism” can really solve our problems and provide hope for the future. I contend that collectivism, by and large, treats the symptoms, and not the underlying issues of our problems. But, even if we could solve our problems under collectivism, would we really be any better off? Would we be happy? After all, we do value individual freedom, unencumbered by outside authority or mandates. We want to be the masters of our own destiny.
I have come to the conclusion that, it is not “individualism,” per se, that is the issue, but the personal “shadow self.” The shadow self, a term coined by the psychologist Carl Jung, is not some mystical notion that depends on belief in a higher power. It is a metaphor for a state of the “unconscious” within the individual, which often leads to poor choices and many problems in the individual and society. Since the shadow self is largely responsible for many of our problems, I devote a large part of the article to explaining what the shadow self is, both in the individual and society, and how it creates these problems.
Conscious Individualism is the proper course of action, which will allow us to overcome our mounting problems and move in a positive direction. In fact, I believe it to be the natural course of human evolution, at least in the metaphorical sense. It is the path of overcoming the personal shadow and “waking to one’s authentic self.”
Individualism, however, can only be sustained when people start to take responsibility for themselves, and wake up to their true potential. Without a gradual shift toward personal wholeness, individualism, as a way of life, will become unsustainable, since our problems, both personal and beyond, will loom larger eventually overtaking us.
If you think you may be able to attend, please RSVP via Meetup, (or reply to [masked]) to give an estimated headcount.