Here we are, isolated consciousnesses feeling alone and lost. This creates a natural need to be connected – with anything. Spiritual folk want to make a connection with God, or spirit, or anything else that might make them feel as though they belong. For most people this sense of belonging might come from family, supported football team, political affiliation, a group of friends.
Of course there are no free lunches here, to belong to a group comes at a price, and that price is conformity. And so we come to the age old issue of the individual versus the group. So strong is this need to belong, that human beings create abstract fictitious entities they can identify with – nation, ideology, religion, commercial brands. After all, what is fashion other than the need to identify with something- to join a club, and preferably a prestigious one. It seems we are largely incapable of resting on our own set of ideas, values, behaviors, and need to ape those of others to get a sense of belonging.
To join a group, all groups, requires that we sublimate our natural tendencies. A group simply will not tolerate an individual that does not tow the line. This applies to families as much as it does political groups. But there is a question we can ask here – how was the group, with it’s values formed? Someone must have started the group and with it established rules and regulations, albeit that these may be hidden and subtle. If you want to buy a designer label item of clothing you are required to have a certain level of income. In a political group the rules and ideas are more explicit – you would hardly see someone talking of racial equality in a far right group – they would be ejected, or worse, fairly quickly.
It would seem the world is comprised of followers and leaders. The leaders can remain true to their inner convictions, whereas the followers must compromise. There is another alternative, and that is to be true to one’s own nature no matter the cost. The likely result is a level of isolation (such a person does not belong to a group). It’s a difficult path and the price is too high for many. For others there may be a sense of fullness that comes from being one’s own person and other issues will be secondary.
As Nietzsche rightly states, it would seem that man is born to obey. To obey moral codes, behavioral codes, ideological dictates and so on. The alternative is only for the brave few.