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The Formation Of An Individual: Cases, Terms, & Tools Essay, Research Paper

The Formation of An Individual: Cases, Terms, & Tools

Man needs a polity, and in the same way a polity needs man. This is the focus

of the first chapter in the formation of an individual. The formation of an

individual is a very complicated process, yet it is a process that is very

necessary. Through the formation of some types of government man tries to form

himself from his acquired beliefs. The most basic form of government is a

couple, but it branches out to entire societies. In these societies there are

certain issues that the individual must deal with, the first is oppression.

Oppression is probably the hardest of all of the problems that one faces on his

road to humanization. Oppression is a single force, held by few, that prevents

others from reaching their status. This form of inequality can be seen in

almost all forms of government, save anarchism because there are no superiors

that can oppress. We saw this oppression in the movie AA Dry White Season@.

This movie summarized the problems with injustice, inequality, and oppression.

In order for us to become more fully human, and move along on our road to our

own formation we must break free from our oppressors. By breaking free, you are

not starting a war, or even a conflict, but you are actively participating in

your own realization.

Before we can break free of the oppression that I just described we must first

be able to realize when we are being oppressed. Through a complicated process

of influence we gain our own thoughts, words, and actions. It first starts with

our own set of beliefs. Most likely the ones that our parents set for us. But

after we gain that first sense of who we are, and who we should be, then and

only then can we realize if we are oppressed. We must understand the actions of

ourselves before we can understand those of others.

On the journey to create our own individuality we need to be influenced because

after we are influenced we can then Aweed out@ the ideas that most likely

conform to our own opinions. This onion is the most effective tool or method in

the formation of an individual.

Paulo Friere addressed the issue of oppression and why it must be stopped in his

essay APedagogy of the Oppressed.@ In this essay he dictates that through

education we can and must stop oppression. Yet this Abreaking free@ cannot be

an individual effort, but a combine summation of forces. Near the beginning of

his essay he says that man must break free of the chains that bind him to his

master because this is not how it was supposed to be. By using it I mean his

existence. We were all meant to be free. ABut while both humanization and

dehumanization are real alternatives only the first is man=s vocation@(28).

More over humanization = freedom. Freedoms is not an ideal located outside of

man; nor is it an ideal which becomes a myth. It is rather an indispensable

condition for the quest of human completion. Throughout Paulo=s entire article

he stresses the importance that this needed freedom has, and without freedom we

are nothing more than just shadows, we can never better ourselves but only stay

the same unless our master, the shadow caster changes.

We must liberate ourselves from this situation, but without mutual cooperation a

goal of liberation is quite impossible. Friere says Aliberation is thus a

childbirth, and a painful one. The man who emerges is a new man, viable only as

the oppressor – oppressed contradiction is superseded by the humanization of all

men@(33). It is necessary for men to liberate himself from his master, and

likewise it is necessary for all men to liberate themselves. Throughout Friere=

s=s entire article we can deduce the theme that humanization is the pinnacle of

existence, and like any human being we all seek the pinnacle. But the hardest

goal in achieving this humanization is the first step in overcoming oppression.

Once oppression is conquered, humanization is a more possible goal.

The initial steps in the formation of an individual must the conscious

realization of who we are, then we must decipher all of the restraints that hold

us back form who we want to be. Next we join hands and begin our quest of

humanization. Once we have been humanized through the combined effort of all

that seek the same as we do we can then and only then become a free individual.

After we realize who we are and begin our path of humanization we must try to

understand why we are oppressed, and once we understand this, we can more fully

understand ourselves. Through our own guiding principles, choice, and

limitations that we face in our lives we consciously form who we are.

The onion once again comes into play here. In fact it might be at this time

where it is the most influential. Through our developmental stages as a child

to our maturization as an adult we are constantly perceiving the world

differently. This is a necessary thing because this means that we are always

changing, from now until we die. We saw that this was extremely apparent in

both the AChildhood@ movies and in AElephant Man@. In the beginning of

AElephant Man@ the elephant man was an outcast— a societal freak. But as time

slowly drug its feet he gained respect from the doctor and eventually gained

love from the doctor.

In the childhood movies we viewed the perpetual change in the behavior of kids.

In fact we saw the slow and painful development of who they were as a person.

This ever changing opinion of the world around us can be seen through the onion

once more. Influences constantly change our feelings for other people and other


We are forever changing our views of the world and through this Aperpetual flux@

we slowly Atest out@ different view points. The perpetual flux is the most

apparent way that we can investigate the way we form ourselves. Through their

changing we are already on the road to a more fully human life, and through

liberation from our oppressors human completion is only one more step away. And

after all human completion is the goal of all mankind.

The founder of this idea of Aperpetual flux@ is David Hume. He says, very much

like the onion theory, that we are nothing more than our perceptions. Like the

onion, Hume says that everything we see / hear, or even more, anything and

everything we experience through our senses changes us just a little bit. Hume

claims that since we are nothing more than our perceptions when we no longer

perceive we no longer exist. From David Hume=s essay AOf Personal Identity@

comes this quote: AWhen my perceptions are removed for any time, as by sound

sleep, as long as I am insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist.

And were all my perceptions removed by death, and could I neither think, nor

feel, nor see, nor love, nor hate, after the dissolution of my body, I should be

entirely annihilated, nor do I conceive what is further requisite to make me a

perfect non-entity@(187). From this I will derive the statement that a

perpetual flux or perpetual movement is as necessary as life is to an individual.

Anyone who is not in a perpetual flux does not exist.

Through a perpetual flux we unconsciously decide what the best method of

achieving humanization is. Somewhat like Peck=s theory of development, we

constantly test different situations in our subconscious, and before we even

comprehend the situations most of the perceptions are already removed. Our sub-

conscious is a certain type of filter, even better, our subconscious is a

special type of filter that Aweeds out@ many raw ideas before they even reach

our conscious.

So through our perpetual flux we are determining what the best type of

individual is for us. Through an unconscious reality we slowly weed out and

pick different situations that all have different outcomes. This is all

happening during the formation of an individual, and with this formation process

we are that much closer to what we perceive liberation and the humanization of

our own selves. Yet we must keep in mind that a changing opinion is good, in

fact it is nearly required. Actually, a perpetual flux is required.

With economic, religious, and political influences all laying far away from the

beginning / origin of the onion once can only venture to say that they are the

least important. If one is not careful these can be the prime candidates of

oppression. Everywhere economic, religious, and political oppression exists.

In the movie AGandhi@ we saw all of the oppression that was in different parts

of the world. And through Satyagraha we all saw the joint liberation and the

humanization of all men, at least the ones that participated in the non-violence.

From other sources we learned that we do have a say in our own religions and

political communities, we must know how to use our powers to our advantage. In

the same way that we benefit from our own economic situations, religious

standpoint, and political view, we are also restrained by them as well. If we

do not have the proper resources [budget project] we are oppressed by money, and

all that is attached by money. If we belong to a religious community, or even

if we don=t, we can still be the victims of oppression. Whether we are

oppressed because we belong or we don=t belong, religious oppression is

everywhere. Finally come political oppressions. This is probably the worst one,

because it happens in large numbers, and it also happens all of the time. We

are often oppressed by the government that we function in.

This is where Gandhi professed his beliefs. Satyagraha was a fight for our

rights as a struggling individual in an oppressive relationship. In the same

way Emerson said that self government is a Areal@ alternative to Political

oppression. His basic argument was since we all have our own views, and own our

own property, then we all should have an equal voice. If we are not given this

needed voice, we must find an alternative.

In Emerson=s AThe Idea of Self-Government@ Emerson stresses the importance of a

functional government, he does not say Anarchy is the only way to achieve this,

but it is a way. He says that man needs a good government, and if one cannot be

provided he must maintain his own. From Emerson=s essay AThe Idea of Self-

Government@ come this quote about the perfect government. AThe idea after which

each community is aiming to make and mend its law, is the will of the wise man.

The wise man it cannot find nature, and it makes awkward but earnest efforts to

secure his government by contrivance;@(150) This means that the perfect

government is at peace with itself and its members, or the Awill of the wise

man@. In a perfect government personal rights are also very important, the

mutual respect of all is needed in the creation of a government. As the respect

for these rights increases, oppression decreases, and peace is closer.

APersonal rights, universally the same, demand a government framed on the ration

of the census; property demands a government framed on the ratio of owners and

of owning@(134). This is a fundamental truth that we all must accept.

Everything is relative in our world / society, and in government there are no

exceptions. Mutual respect and the active awareness of all is required or

government can no longer exist.

Not only in political freedom is this prevalent, but in Religious freedom this

is obvious too. In most cases Religious freedom is just as important as

political freedom, and sometimes religious freedom is even more important.

Religious freedom is placed below political freedom many times because their is

much more political oppression than there is religious oppression. But this

does not mean that religious freedom does not exist. Voltaire writes in his

philosophical dictionary that religious freedom is very important. AIf you can

have 2 religions among you they will massacre each other, but if you have 30

they will live in peace.@ This is a fundamental truth that we all must

understand. If we force people into religion they will undoubtedly start to

fight, but if we let them believe what they want to believe, then they will not

be oppressed, or thought of as oppressed and therefore will live in religious

harmony. And once this harmony is reached humanization is inevitable.

It is impossible to deny the existence of oppression and the forceful influence

by others in our world. But this oppression must be confronted, whether it be

through peaceful resistance, such as Satyagraha, or through bloodied warfare.

The outcome is the same either way, you are fighting for a just cause and

combining forces not because you are forced to, but because people share the

same feelings as you. This is not wrong, yet good to have people join in mutual

consent. Like Emerson says, people, as long as they have an equal part in the

government, can live in harmony. This harmony is necessary for peaceful

cooperation, and the humanization of all men. With religion next, Voltaire

boldly stated that religious freedom is needed for a homeostasis to be reached

from different viewpoints. Through mutual respect the humanization of all men

is not but one more hill on the path towards freedom.

By nature society oppresses. By nature religion oppresses. By nature

everything that does not coincide with our beliefs oppresses. There is no other

way to rid the world of oppression, but there is a way around it.

Before we can understand oppression we must first understand ourselves. Through

the Aonion effect@ we gain an awareness of our world around us. As we perceive

this world we are constantly changing, always in a perpetual flux. A perpetual

flux is most likely the most significant of all of the ways we form our self.

The formation of an individual is a long and tiring process, yet it must be done.

There is no other alternative. Once we understand who we are through the onion,

and all of our perceptions we are now ready to understand the machine called


Oppression exists everywhere, and the only way to break free is to gain control

of our own individuality and join hands in a crusade towards humanization.

Whether it be Satyagraha or any peaceful resistance, as long as the force is of

mutual consent, then the only plausible outcome is victory. And furthermore

victory for the individual as well as a victory for the entire brigade. When

the victory is won we have broken the engine of oppression, but the machine

still exists. As long as thee is mutual peace, as opposed to forced peace, the

engine will stay broken and liberation will be inevitable. But if oppression

rises up again ABut almost always, during the initial stage of the struggle, the

oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become

oppressors, or >sub-oppressors=. The very structure of their thought has been

conditioned by the contradictions of the concrete, existential situation by

which they were shaped. Their idea is to be men; but for them, to be men is to

be oppressors.@ Such as the switching of roles in the oppressor – oppressed

relationship, the engine will be fixed / replaced. After the engine is replaced

by this newly found false generosity the gears will turn and the machine of

oppression will stalk again. Welcome to the hatemachine?

We must dodge this effect and stand tall for what we believe in. Yet mutual

respect must exist. Through peaceful cooperation, liberation into freedom has

already happened.

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