humanistic individualism

The members of this group do not make a global judgement on the human situation and found a universal attitude upon it which they strive to realize in every act and relationship and response of daily existence, an heroic attempt to be equal to the worst in human fate and private lot by anticipation.

They are readier naïvely to take happiness and success at their face value. They are intent on achievement rather than transcendence, on careers rather than inwardness. The pleasures and opportunities, the promise and possibilities of human life in the world engage their interest and their energies.

The world offers them raw material and they are confident in their powers. They seek to know the world in order to adapt it to their needs, their desires, their designs, rather than in order to adapt themselves to its inexorable requirements; they survey the obstacles in order to remove them, and do not submit to them in order to surmount them.

With them, ‘mankind has not learned to renounce anything, has not outgrown the instinctive egotism and optimism of the young animal, and has not removed the centre of its being, or of its faith, from the will to the imagination.’ The risks they run and the responsibilities they take in their solitary individualism are not the responsibilities and risks of a philosophic choice of life which goes against all appearances, or does not dare to, but the responsibilities and risks of trusting to their judgement and capacities in practical ventures.

They do not accept life, nor do they reject it: they handle it.

Blackham, H. J. The Human Tradition. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953. 22324. Print.


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