CHENNAI: The individual is essentially the collective, and society is the creation of the individual. The individual and society are interrelated, are they not?
They are not separate. The individual builds the structure of society, and society or environment shapes the individual. Though environment conditions the individual, he can always free himself, break away from his background. The individual is the maker of the environment to which he becomes a slave; but he has also the power to break away from it and create an environment that will not dull his mind or spirit. The individual is important only in the sense that he has the capacity to free himself from his conditioning and understand reality.
Individuality that is merely ruthless in its own conditioning builds a society whose foundations are based on violence and antagonism. The individual exist only in relationship, otherwise he is not; and it is the lack of understanding of this relationship that is breeding conflict and confusion. If the individual does not understand his relationship to people, to property, and to ideas or beliefs, merely to impose upon him a collective or any other pattern only defeats its own end. Patterns always condition, and a conditioned entity is always in conflict within himself and so with society. It is comparatively easy to substitute a new pattern of conditioning for the old; but for the individual to free himself from all conditioning is another matter. You lay emphasis on the individual, but not as a separate force within society.