The Sporting Spirit (p.967)
All socially collective activities warrant a critical eye because individualities are at risk at being swallowed up by the collective. The whole purpose of collectivizing is to facilitate reaching a common goal, but if the individuals are completely swallowed up by the collective, the cumulative strength blends, mutating the common goal of the heterogenous individuals into a homogenous purpose. In other words, collectivization without embracing individuality breeds power instead of empowerment. This replaces individual accomplishment (and incentive) with a feeling that the group is special and distinct in some way. This is the junction of identity and power.
Accomplishment is a very significant thing. As a writer I know I need a strong support system to help guide my vision, because my artistry requires a finely tuned balance of intellect and emotion which is nearly impossible to achieve all on my own. Accomplishment is a fulfilling reward, as well as an excellent incentive, however--and this is where accomplishment can be mutated into power--if one exclusively strives for the result of accomplishment rather than fulfilling all the steps organically, then what an individual harvests is not the seed of empowerment, but the seed of power.
The seed of power can thus exist both in individuals as well as collectives, however the functions and entailments are different. Collectives rely upon what Orwell calls group-think, a peer-pressure momentum, which sounds like something that only applies to children but is seriously one of the most significant intangibles in collective human affairs. Peer pressure not only validates, but it scorns, conforming people to a culture that is implicit. Since most of us are socially-influenced--in that we're not naturally autonomous--if we don't actively reflect upon the mechanisms and institutions of culture, we can easily be brushed into the direction of the common social tide, unknowingly collectivizing.
Power thus can be exercised with subtle cues brushing people along, rather than exclusively via aggression and coercion. Even though power is both a cause and an effect, I want to bring accomplishment and purpose into the forefront. One's orientation with the phenomena of power determines whether they strive for individual accomplishment (means), or strive toward fulfilling a purposeful end. It's so easy for collectives to operate via purpose because establishing and balancing individuals takes much more work--and doesn't guarantee success--than it does to rely on the strength of the collective to obtain what they deemed a worthy prize.
Collectivism isn't inherently defective and neither is individualism, however collectivism facilitates a flight from reason because of the calm brush-strokes of power that exist between each member. Peer forces and the tacit agreements are thus suspect. If a collective is going to foster individuality and intra-critique then enough reason must be exercised between the individuals to overpower the subtle brush-strokes of power that flows in between the members. For empowerment to occur, not only do individuals need to exert themselves, but the collective itself must insist they exist.
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