“Society” and the individual

Passage- “Above all we must avoid postulating “society” again as an abstraction vis-à-vis the individual. The individual is the social being.His manifestations of life – even if they may not appear in the direct form of communal manifestations of life carried out in association with others – are therefore an expression and confirmation of social life. Man’s individual and species-life are not different, however much – and this is inevitable – the mode of existence of the individual is a more particular or more general mode of the life of the species, or the life of the species is a more particular or more general individual life.”-From Marx’s manuscript

Karl Marx’s translated word for “society” actually stems from a German dichotomy which is a combination of society and community. This has a major influence on the passage we reviewed because it is important to understand clearly what the author was originally intending to say. Marx is telling the citizens to be aware that they are the society. We must not allow ourselves to separate this from the individual. The individuals are what makes up society as a whole. No matter how hard an individual may try, they will not be able to separate themselves from what society is, because it is the citizens which define it.

This can be viewed in a negative or a positive connotation. Personally, I see a majority of positive connotation. Citizens are never alone, and predominantly working for the greater good of his/her community. Individualism is clearly not lacking in this idea when other facets of Marx’s manuscript are referenced (as discussed in class). It is our duty as citizens to keep up with society and change it to fit ourselves as we see best fit for the whole.

We discussed the old attitude of “Well that’s just the way things are” when discussing discontent with the current society. We as individuals all have the power to influence what society is. We noted the example of recycling. If more and more citizens were to recycle, our society would change, as we have noticed it to over the course of the past 40 years or so. Changing a society does not have to be a monumental task if every citizen simply makes small changes in his/her way of life in regard to the bigger changes they want to see in the world.

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