January 16

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The Individualist, The Populist

There are two ways we reach our imperfect models of actuality Ė through individualistic and/or popular means. An individualistic construction of reality is built when someone subscribes to no other established reality. He or she does not borrow from pre-existing realities of any religion, any form of thought or philosophy, nor the influence of his or her parents world view, but uses only their own sensory input and powers of feeling and reasoning to arrive at an individual version of reality. Using the picture I laid out in the above paragraphs, an infinite actuality with billions of realities walking around trying to get a grip, the individualist is the reality that refuses to interact with other realities. This sort does not listen to those who live with them in actuality, but chooses to be directly connected to actuality. The individualist trusts only that which it knows: his or her own experience, thoughts, and feelings.

The populist stands in stark contrast to the pure individualist. Whereas the individual shuns realities that are not his or her own, the populist borrows their entire construction of reality from existing constructions of reality. Populists uses their senses, reasoning, and feeling to understand the realities of others, and not actuality. He or she is an expert in all religions, but unlike the individualist has not formed a religion of their own based on actuality. The populist knows philosophy, the ideologies, and science, but does not observe actuality to formulate philosophies or ideologies of his or her own. Rather, this sort observes the derivatives of actuality, the realities of others. They borrow everything from others. Where the individualist revels in actuality, the populist revels in a reality, by using all senses to understand the views of others. He or she believes in the collective human opinion of actuality, and forms no direct bond with actuality of their own.

Neither is better than the other. They are equally omniscient and innocent. In the end, both arrive at their own conception of what actuality is, their own unique reality which will enable them to meet their needs. The difference is that the individualist limits their reality to interactions with the first plane - actuality - whereas the populist's reality limits itself to intereactions with the second plane - with realities based on actuality. The individualist remains separate of the flawed realities of others. He or she is not subject to their mistakes, which is advantageous. Yet this makes the individualist a slave to their own flaws, which would easily have been corrected with a subscription to anotherís reality. This sort is a slave to actuality, isolated from every reality but his or her own. The populist is a slave to reality, and isolated from actuality. Subject not to his or her own flaws, the populist is subject to the flaws of every reality he subscribes to. This sort is of the crowd, at one with the fashion of the day and the opinions of others.

Having brought the individualist and populist into the equation, I need to expand my initial explanation of omniscience and innocence. Earlier, I said that the omniscient being has a true grip on actuality. This ignores the second plane - every other derived reality out there. Not only should the omniscient being have a perfect grip on actuality, but must perfectly understand and empathizes with every reality that has been based on actuality or other realities, even though these may be error filled realities. The omniscient being understands the inherent flaws in realities because he or she can contrast these with their perfect actuality based reality. They are empathic, knowing exactly how we sense, think, and feel. The omniscient being therefore is someone who perfectly grasps actuality and every derived reality. He or she is the perfect individualist and the perfect populist combined. What does this make the innocent? True innocence is a detachment not only from actuality but every derived reality. The innocent is neither individualist nor populist, but separate and distinct from all actuality and reality, looking away from everything.

The individualist and the populist are merely human constructs, no real person is a pure type. A pure individualist does not exist because to some extent we all depend on others in constructing our views. Oneís parents, teacherís, friends, and competitorís all contribute to oneís reality. We may think we can distance ourselves and make our own realities, but often other realities are embedded in our own, unconscious and inseparable from who we are and how we perceive. A pure populist does not exist because we do not borrow everything. A part of any personís reality is learnt through oneís own experience, feelings, and thoughts. We exist somewhere on a spectrum between the two.

So what does this leave us? What is our relation to reality? Since we are not innocent and have certain needs and desires, we have developed the capacity to sense, feel, and think. Through this capacity we learn to understand actuality and derived reality. Since we are not omniscient and our capacities are imperfect, we develop incomplete models of this actuality and fail to grasp the derived realities of others. The individual within us tends to form imperfect models of actuality, whereas the populist in us tends to form imperfect models of derived reality. Extreme examples: a hermit is an individual. Living in a cave in the mountains, his model of actuality, his reality, is concerned with growing the food he needs to survive and hunting. He operates apart from the rest of humanity such that the majority of his reality has been formed by himself, not by society. A performer is a populist. Living at the top of society, her model of reality is concerned with producing art and building and keeping a fan base that provides her with the money she needs to survive and enjoy life. She must be in touch with popular opinion, the trends and styles of the day, and the caprices of the crowd. Her reality is derived from society.

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