Why not go it alone?
Each of us wants to be a unique individual and to determine our own destiny. But here’s a fact: we need community in order to achieve personal fulfillment. It can be quite challenging to strike a balance between our individual needs and our life in community.
For Americans, individualism—that image of the lone individual seeking self-gratification—powerfully shapes how we experience ourselves. While our freedoms, rights, and liberties are indeed precious, we need tools to reexamine our individualism and see how faith and spirituality can be more deeply rooted in community.
Sociologist Robert Bellah has pointed out the irony that American individualism, which keeps us separate, is at the same time a shared value that serves to hold American society together. Unfortunately, when individualism is over-emphasized, it can lead to loneliness, isolation and even depression.
In this video, several persons respond to the question of going it alone vs. being in community.
- Which response speaks most directly to you?
- What memories or stories do they provoke?
Of course, there are no simple solutions to the challenge of loneliness and the loss of community.
- Are there times when you have successfully met the challenge?
- What makes you hopeful?