US legacy of individualism will be its main struggle to obtain status quo as the leading state of the world

Posted on June 24, 2009

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First of all there will be a change in the way we define a hegemony, unilateral or superpower. The leading state of the world will be as much interconnected and dependent as all other countries. This means that even if the leading state has immense military power, this will only be one of many leverage tools to solve global or regional challenges. And in this aspect the military tool will only act in a supporting role and not decisive.

It will be as hard to the United States of America to acknowledge the mindset of Collaborative Man as it is for Iran and China to acknowledge that the interconnectedness of the world can not be countered, halted or controlled.

If this perspective seems incredible to an american – think about this: We do not know how we will navigate in the future. All we know is that we will navigate in a different way. A way not invented yet…

The collaborative approach could be the approach where US redefines its values in accordance with the future context. Along with the rest of the world. That is among other the prize of being connected.

Why is individualism a part of the US legacy? From my personal point of view – the individualistic thinking was developed during the period of the founding of the US. A settlers mindset. An individual who gave all he could to a common or self constructed course – earned the respect of his fellow men. This approach of giving yourself 100% gave birth to an incredible dynamic that helped develop the american society at a high speed. But as americans from “day one” has repeated its victories at national or individual level (even lost battles were turned to victory when leveled at the individual performing). This historical approach has helped preserve individualism as one of the core values of american culture and thinking. But now and in the future, this is not enough if US wants to hold its position.

The disadvantages of the individualistic thinking are: When individuals sacrifice all to a certain cause – they earn an almost automatic respect. This function screens a critical approach to the sacrifice. This means that the individual thinking supports absolutism. And when connected to organizations, it supports hierarchy: The leader made it – he scarified everything – earning unlimited respect. So when he decides something – he must be right. And in order for us to understand, he must describe exactly what we shall do in all aspects of the organization. This leads to a society where details dominate. This leads to a society where authorities in general are very little criticized. This leads to a society where thinking as a critical approach is relatively very low. You follow the detailed instruction and you get there. Do not think – just do it. (On the other hand individuals are raised in schools where structure reigns but where the individualistic approach is repeated again and again. Resulting in a relatively high rate of entrepreneurship within society)

Collaborative learning can only succeed if the humans involved can think. There is no hierarchy because all have a chance of contributing with value. We do not know where we end when we construct and make sense (contextual) together. In order to prepare the US nation to be collaborative – they must all start thinking. And this means a critical approach towards the personal sacrifice. And authorities in general.