As a human being and member of Humanity, I am torn between two primal factions in any attempt to answer the question of who I am: I am an Individual, but, as an Individual, I am also an individual component who is part of a larger Society. In certain manners, these feelings are primal and hark upon instincts that have kept Man alive for millennia.
First, there is innate desire to be a part of a Collective—we are, after all, a species of Units: family, friends, school, companies, teams, et cetera. We flock to one another and—with a few exceptions to those who prefer the Solitary for reasons beyond my mind—thrive on how we are accepted in the eyes of those with whom we associate. I cannot even begin to fathom all of the instances in my daily life where I attempt to please others for the sake of good impression: sounding intelligent for the sake of my instructors and peers, attempting to be romantic and caring to my Love, attempting to please those with whom I work in various capacities, and others. Still, the question arises as to why we continue to strive for such approval.
As much as I would like to think that I am an “enlightened” (i.e., one who has evolved beyond the basic human instincts and desires) Individual, I must admit that the enlightened does not keep one from the need to be in the Collective. But, like all things of life on this Earth, the big is made up of the small: Particles, molecules, atoms, elements. With this analogy, one must remember that the Collective is made up of the Individual—the big from the small.
The question arises is how one becomes an Individual in the eyes of the Collective. In the most positive sense, the best way—in our Collective, at least—is to drive self from what one does. How I mean this is in the context of the basic Human needs that we all have. We all have the same basic needs to stay alive, and these are the only things that are really Universal throughout the course of Human Existence (so Universal, in fact, that I will not even bother to mention them here, as I am sure that you who read this are Humans and know what you need). Because we all have the same needs, how we differentiate ourselves from being simply part of a Species is to Do. To Do is to become a One among Many. How often do we identify each other and ourselves by a title, an insignia of what we do with our daily lives? You know your doctor as doctor, your professor as professor, your priest as Father, and so on. So it appears that we are what we Do in multiple contexts—whether good or bad, noble or unnoble.
We ourselves have answered the question of how to become One: To Do. Yet, in our Doings, we work toward acceptance by the Collective, and this faction is something that no (decent) Human can live without.
There is a stark contrast presented among the manner of Living and of Doing: To Live means one has satisfaction—or strives for satisfaction—of those basic Human needs to survive. To Do means to live beyond that faction and to strive for something than simply Living. The two, Living and Doing, combine into something greater in the cosmos of our Individual existence: Being.
Being comes from the idea of not only how one Lives but also combines what one Does. In the simplest context, one Is what one Does, and what one Does affects how one Lives. The most basic example is what one does as his or her occupation—how one earns the means to Live (i.e., money). What one Does determines how one Lives. However, the idea of an occupation—or the manner in which one spends his or her time, for pay or not—culminates itself into what one desires, what one creates, and what one Is. The link between Living and Doing is Being: To Be is to Do without concern for Living.
The Individual is defined by what he or she Does—what he or she Is. The point of the Individual is to Be, and the point of being is to Do beyond the confines of simply Living. What one Does to Be is based solely on the desires of the Individual; though in some cases the desires of the Collective seep into their decisions.
The true Individual Is outside of any Collective influence—the true Individual strives to Be, not simply to Live.