I have been thinking about how some Canadians behave in a manner that I consider abhorrent. This is because they are very individualistic in nature. Even some of the people who have decided to work or live in Canada and who were originally from holistic societies become individualistic in the long run. That’s an example of taking the path of least resistance, which is the theme of the cartoon movie Wall-E.
According to Rob Whitley’s article, “Is an Increase in Individualism Damaging Our Mental Health” individualism causes issues like divorce, loneliness, low self esteem, depression, PTSD and suicide. The author points out that social media is also the cause of alienation and relevant issues like depression and loneliness. He further asserts that individualism is causing people to define success and failure as personal attribute—these I think have a lot to do with society since emotional support is the key to improving performance. Once I posted an article about the Rich Poor Gap on Twitter while discussing how this is hurting our chances of survival. Pretty soon, a user replied back saying that there are so many positive stories out there and that I need to focus on these instead. I started laughing when I read her comment because I have observed many dedicated and skilled individuals who are stuck in the cycle of poverty. She made me sound like an idiot by hinting that there is something wrong with me because I am not focusing on the positive—know that this kind of sentiment works well only through cold methods of communication such as social media.
I believe that Individualism makes you assume things. More you focus on the positive stories only because doing so makes you feel stronger and confident, more you are going to assume things about those who are not performing well. To break through Individualism and its harmful effects, you need to listen to the bad stories and see why they are being created in the first place. Once a Canadian class fellow of mine who did not knew me and who had zero idea about my background sat next to me; and, within a couple of minutes, he decided to mock me by calling me a racist. He did not even knew that racism is not taught in Islam; he did not knew that I write poetry to fight racism; since he likes assuming, he would never bother to find out that I have also attempted to confront a foreign writer who had racist views online. I had no idea what he was saying; and, so I ended up leaving his group permanently. So his rushed comments are symbolic of how rushed the Canadian environment really is. Owing to individualism, everyone here is hurrying; and, they are not thinking properly.
Individualism can drastically harm your emotional health through isolation, neglect, intimidation (you are on your own), sexual abuse (you have to find your own partner), financial abuse (survival of the fittest), and verbal abuse (when someone says something mean because he/she is in a hurry). My experience within the individualistic Canadian society has taught me that all of this is possible; and, it is very clear for me to see how this is happening since I am originally from a holistic (Pakistani) culture. For example, I am finding that communicating with Canadians is difficult inside the workplaces because they abuse people a lot here. According to World Population Review, suicide rate in America is 15.3, in Canada is 12.5, and in Pakistani is 2.9. Really?
Mental health issues are on the rise…suicides are more frequent in developed, individualistic countries. The close bond between families, friends and one’s local community…almost disappeared. Source: Our Individualistic Society is Causing Serious Mental Health Issues.
Thus, it is very obvious that individualism is harming all of us. However, a lot of us won’t pay attention to the fact that individualism is the reason why we are all dying to have a peaceful world. According to Andrew Orton’s article, “Interfaith Dialogue: Seven Key Questions for Theory, Policy, and Practice” interfaith dialogue requires that one must interact with individuals of different communities instead of just living next to each other without communicating properly (this phenomenon is called “parallel lives”). Interfaith dialogue plays a critical part in promoting world peace by forming more cohesive societies. According to Andrew Sobel’s article, “Eight Ways to Improve Your Empathy” your empathy improves as you expose yourself to new environments and allow yourself to be challenged. Obviously, individualism is doing the exact opposite! Most definitely, you cannot achieve world peace or great health just by attending meetups or hanging out with someone who has individualistic values.
Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.