Ok, here's my take on things:
Why we desire companionship is probably because of the safetys it provides. Early humans probably didn't survive too well on their own. Also another factor for gatherings of people is because of the productivity it provides.....one person building one car takes a longer period of time than twenty building twenty cars....hence modern production lines. Societies formed out of common interests, namely survival, and grew with the needs of a society. Societies, I believe, are necessary for the growth of an individual. What can be learned from being part of nothing? Without a society we'd all still be eating bark and playing with our feces....it's impossible to learn all that the world has to offer on our own....without a society, everyone individualy would have to invent from scratch everything they wanted instead of using other ideas and thoughts as a stepping stone. If you wanted to sail, you'd have to invent a boat, lets face it the first few thousand boats probably sank the day they were launched. Only through the efforts of many people, and many generations, did we eventually find a way to make them float, at least for a longer period of time I believe that a well rounded individual is usually created through being a part of society for without a society we'd probably all till be cave dwellers and lack diversity.
I partially agree with JP's comments of "Perhaps somewhere, in the primordial essence that all of us share, we as a speices are afraid to strive for our potential, because we fear that our potential is not much more than what we already are - and that my friends would be the saddest commentary of all."
I think that sometimes we group together to live vicariously through the accomplishments of another but I also must add that we do often gather to share our accomplishments with others. How can something be considered "great" if there is nothing to compare it to or to even see or experience it with. Something great is just "something" if not put to a test of comparisons or opinions.
So Audrey Blue, do not feel bad about not wanting not to feel alone because on this thought you are not alone. We all need each other because we all are each other. One big splintered gene of the two original different people, all trying to get back to the beginning and find comfort in the separation from being one.....what the hell am I talking about, I dunno, did that have any remsemblance to coherancy?????
"I do not propose that the group is unnecessary, I simply say that the evolvement of humanity will occur through the efforts of individuals striving to obtain more that what the group would allow them to obtain. Those ubermensch will make strides and the herd will eventually follow."
But without that group would there have been a need for individuals to obtain something that is not there. Would the radio have been invented if there was not a need by society? If one was alone, who would they talk with? and if they constantly talked with someone wouldn't that create a society much like this place can be considered a society? Would the Declaration of Independance been written if there was not a society which needed it? With that in mind is the group following the thoughts of the individual or is the individual following the needs of the group? Who is leading who? Who is influencing who's thoughts, who is directing who? Is it not a group effort that creates the individual (lets remember it takes two people to make one) and is it not the individual that creates the group?
The inspiration is just as important as the inventor and invention. They can not exist without one another. It is a balancing act and I believe it is important not to place one above the other. What good is a leader without followers or a follower without a leader? With this in mind does evolution in humanity (though I'd prefer to say evolution in society) occur because of the individual, or because of the group, or because of indiviuals within a group (grouped individuals) made individual by the group they are in?
An individual could not exist without a group because an individual does not (or at least did not) possess the mental nor physical tools needed to discover sufficiently the world on which it lives and progress at a needed rate for survival. A group without individuals, would be a group acting as one thereby still lacking the mental tools for such said needed progression. Lets face the music, we can not survive on our own. If anyone disagrees, move away from society, farm your own land and catch and train a horse to help plow the fields needed to keep up with your food demand. Build your own house, find your own way to heat a house or walk (or take the horse you caught and trained) to a warm climate where heat isn't need, p.s. make sure to practise crop rotation or your land will become a desert, also never find a mate for that would be the start of a mini-society......my pun on hermitism could keep going but I think you all get the drift.....Perhaps social evolution only occurs through a group effort of individuals.
We need both interaction (to gain information) and time off from interaction (to process information) in order to be an individual...thus both a society is needed and a place "away" from society is also needed....hence a workable balance is achieved.
"Yet contrary to what Brad seems to say I do not believe that any group has ever invented anything. A team (like society) is after all only a collection of individuals with individual input on which ideas can grow."
Is not a collection, a group as well? Is there a difference in saying a collection of individuals or a group of individual? Where should the credit in invention lie? Within the inspiration or within the inventor? Was there one individual who influenced Ayn Rand or was there numerous individuals who influenced Ayn Rand? And of the individual/s who influenced Ayn, how many do you think were influenced/inspired by society? Would they have written the things they did without a society? Where should the accolades go? To Ayn, to those who influenced her, or to the societies which influenced those who influenced her? So what is more important, the group or the individual? Once again I will say it is a harmonic relationship that is balanced for maintaining existance for I believe that which is not constantly balanced can not exist for more than a moment.
The human race could not survive acting solely as one or solely as individuals (though it's debateable if this would be a bad thing ). First off, groups are needed for procreation (I think it's an established fact that inbreeding may not be a healthy way to pass on genes anymore) and for the physical creation of individuals thereby making an individual an immediate member of a group. People at birth can not raise themselves mentally nor physically thereby making them a member of a group, or a society, futhermore making them subject to influences of such said groups and therewithsuchathing (I needed a new word ) making them a product of a society, thus the individual is created by a group. They may still be an individual but are so because of the influences or lack of.
Anyways, kuddos to all who bothered to read this messy string of thoughts, I'm exhausted and won't continue even though I have more to say on the subject.....If only all of you would practise "Trevorism", you'd be so much happier Take care everyone,
[This message has been edited by Trevor (edited 11-11-1999).]