Column: we are not individuals, we are collectives

Natural Security columnist Chris Wood kicks off the New Year with a statement that will make some squeamish, which others will find provocative, and which will strike many as a marvel: We’re all in this together. An excerpt of Wood’s new column:

PondHere’s a thought as we enter a new year: We’re all in this together.

That is not a moral sentiment. Nor is it the wooly-headed utopiate of some bleeding-heart liberal. In fact, it is a statement about biology. Nonetheless, this clearly unoriginal insight has implications for everything from agriculture to medicine to business. It should resonate across our social, inter-personal and economic realms as well.

Here’s the deal: That splendid, solitary, neurotically cultivated and over-examined individual of pop cultural celebrity, of too many moody novels, of philosophy, and more recently of Darwinian economic ideology, turns out to be just another of those enterprises’ many fantasies. In reality, we are not individuals, we are collectives.

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