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Mark Goodkin on: "Conscious Individualism: The Antidote to Collectivism"

 

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.

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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.

Conscious Individualism
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.

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If you think you may be able to attend, please RSVP via Meetup, (or reply to [masked]) to give an estimated headcount.

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Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    I appreciate Mark taking the time to present his ideas. Overall, I think he would agree that there is some work to be done to flesh out more details and supporting evidence.

    April 24, 2013

  • Mark G.

    I just posted the presentation from yesterday's forum, "Conscious Individualism: The Antidote to Collectivism," in the files area of the meetup.

    April 24, 2013

  • Mark G.

    I enjoyed giving the presentation yesterday evening. It was a new experience for me, and fun. Thanks to Andrew for inviting me to speak and everyone who attended.

    April 24, 2013

  • James C.

    Came home and watched part 2 of The "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" with my happy family 'collective'. Now that we have started the "Dichotomies Series", when will someone do "Master/Slave" (driven into the ground by the Greek philosophers, whom I suppose had their own slaves) and currently in the news, "Perpetrator/Victim" (epitomized by Lisbeth)?

    Reminds me of the fact that the Individualist is often his own worst enemy.

    April 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Whoa, sampling this evening's comments, it seems apparently people are really, personally concerned about ''THE COLLECTIVE" I'm going to post a Discussion on the website's Discussions Button (see the blue bar above) titled; Individualistic Decisions or Collectivistic Decisions by an Individual, a Clarification. There is only two ways this can go (i.e. ''..two roads diverged in a yellow wood, ...), and all that. If tonight's reading and discussion interested you, I'll see you there...

    1 · April 23, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Jim, I agree. The mind certainly wanders/ meanders. For instance; I think this is your shortest comment post yet.

      April 24, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      ''shortest'­' since I've know you, which is only about three weeks.

      April 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Good time

    April 24, 2013

  • James C.

    In philosophy, we are more concerned with investigation than with answers. At the beginning, one would be more concerned with confusing the individual for the group than one would be concerned about elevating particulars over groups. After determining what some relationships are, and later hopefully what these relationships are based on, we could concentrate on the unknown (other people), and the groups we form. Simply preferring people's egos doesn't particularly appear more rational than does preferring their associations. In other words, perhaps egoism is no better a panacea than cultism - or perhaps is it the same thing?

    1 · April 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This is off-topic, I know. Discussions about Philosophical ruminations of people in the past can be viewed by some as ''old news'', viewed by some as an actual hinderance to the process of the Accumulation of Knowledge.
    Here are two quotes by Richard Feynman;
    ''I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything, and of many things I don't know anything about, but I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose which is the way it really is as far as I can tell possibly. It doesn't frighten me''.
    ''We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress, we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain''.

    1 · April 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wow, Mark, so many ''specifically-turned phrases'', that I'm pretty sure to take out of context. ''shadow self'', ''...individual freedom, unencumbered by outside authority or mandates'', ''Conscious Individualism is the proper course of action...'', ''when people start to take responsibility for themselves'', since our problems, both personal and beyond, will loom larger, eventually overtaking us.'' I definitely have to come to this forum. See you there!

    1 · April 20, 2013

  • Mark G.

    Here is a typical example of how collectivism is seen by some as the answer to all of our problems. MSNBC Host Melissa Harris-Perry » All Your Kids Belong To Us
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3qtpdSQox0

    April 9, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Collectivism, the word itself, is probably the problem. Too much Stalinist-Era Emotional Import connected to it. Anybody out there got a ''good''­ word to use instead?

      April 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      For the Individual, the questions to ask yourself to get an answer to this Individualism-Collectivi­sm Issue are; ''Am I primarily 'Other' Centered?'', or, ''Am I primarily 'Self' Centered?''.

      April 20, 2013

  • Andrew

    Thank so many of you for signing up to support our first lay-speaker. I think that says a lot about our little group. it should be an interesting conversation. Some interesting speakers in the pipeline as well...

    April 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Mark,
    Met you last night. I like the title.

    April 12, 2013

  • Arthur M.

    Wish I could attend. However, I have an annual board meeting that evening.

    April 8, 2013

19 went

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