Nancy on Individualism

Jean-Luc Nancy, a French philosopher, writes these provocative words on the impotence of individualism:

L’individualisme est un atomisme inconséquent, qui oublie que l’enjeu de l’atome est celui d’un monde.

Individualism is a thoughtless atomism, which forgets that with an atom, a world is at stake. (La communauté désoeuvrée, 17)

The political thought of our age, the theories that led to the founding of the constitutional democracies we enjoy (more or less) as citizens of Canada, the US and other western nations, assume individualism. Nancy suggests, in other words, our own societies are castles in the sky, they rest on air.


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