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The Individual and The Mass

«Whatever a man dreams is already true. Not only takes a little time for it to become visible.»

“Behind every human achievement, at the origin of every intuition, of every scientific or social conquest, behind the world’s greatest endeavours, business ventures, and all that is beautiful, useful, wealthy, there is invariably one man, an individual and his dream. Only the individual can dream, the crowd cannot.”  The School for Gods

Janus, the double-headed God
The month of January is named after Janus the god that Roman mythology depicted as having two heads, facing opposite directions; one head looks back at the last year while the other looks forward to the new, simultaneously into the future and the past. The doors of his temple were open in time of war and closed in time of peace and his double-headed statue also showed one face during war time and turned the other in time of peace. Writing this first article of 2011, I found the myth of Janus not only emblematic of the New Year but inspirational for its vision capable to harmonize apparent opposites: beginning and end, war and peace; showing them as the two faces of the same reality. Just like the individual and the crowd which only apparently are antagonists. In reality, they are in a symbiotic relationship, like the two pistons of the same motor. The mass produces the individuals and the individuals provide the solutions for the survival of the masses. Each epochal passage in humanity’s history has always been preceded by the overturning of ideologies, by a revolution in thought which begins in an individual and then spreads to the masses.


It is hard to express the feeling that overwhelmed me when I found the lost manuscript of Lupelius – as I have narrated in my Book “The School for Gods” – at Yerevan in Armenia and came across to the story of this word: Individual. Discovering its deep meaning was as if I had just unlocked a treasure handed down for centuries. 2.500 years ago, a Greek philosopher, Democritus, made an accurate hypothesis of the existence of the atom, as the ultimate brick of the reality. Hence the name ‘a-tomo’ which letterally means ‘non divisible’. Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman orator and man of learning, studying Democritus’ theory and not having a Latin word for atomo, he coined the name individuum which has in its root the concept of indivisible. We continue to use the appellative ‘individual’, attributing it quite liberally to everybody, having forgotten the powerful meaning encoded in the etymon of this word. Only a man of integrity, indivisible and with an undivided psychology, should deserve the appellation of individual. An individual doesn’t belong to any philosophy, ideology or religion. He has no labels. He cannot belong. He cannot be confined. Only an individual can be a leader. A future humanity, a more intelligent civilization, will make the individual the focus of its attention;i will devote all of its efforts to provide education on an individual basis, man by man, cell by cell! The mass is a ghost, the crowd is a mechanism influenced by everything and anything. It doesn’t have faith; it doesn’t have its own will. It doesn’t create. And, in actual fact, the mass has never created anything. Only the individual can create, as only the individual can dream.

The Individual and the Mass
Have you asked yourself why the leading spirits of humanity have always had a recurrently fierce, violent opposition from the masses? Why visionary leaders from Gandhi to Martin Luther King, from John and Robert Kennedy to Malcolm X had to be killed? The individual scares us.  The vastness of his ideas, his unshakeable self-trust, the breadth of his vision, his inner compactness, compels us to see our indolence, our ugliness, our unbearable deformity. He puts us in front of ourselves and this comparison is so painful to lead us to the decision to suppress him. Instead of changing ourselves, to listen to his voice which unremittingly urges us to become better, to be more, we prefer to eliminate the term of comparison. With the occasion of the recurrence of ML King Day, the unceasing dialectic between the individual and the mass comes back to our conscience and tears up our universe in two parts.

A Brief History of Visionary Individuals 
Have you been in Piazza dei Fiori, in Rome? Have you seen the tall monument there? Yes, it is a monument to Giordano Bruno! Looking at it you could say: how nice, they have erected this imposing monument in this beautiful square to honour the memory of one of the forerunners of modern thinking, together with Galileo, Copernicus and many other free spirits of that age. You would think that it is evidence of gratitude for his intelligence and the courage of an innovator – to his pioneer spirit. But why was it erected just in that place? To no avail you would explore the base of the monument. Nowhere will you find it written: “Here is where we killed the guy; this is the exact place where we burned him.” Another scientist of that time – you know Galileo Galilei – was tortured and then put under house arrest for his theories, and he saved his life only by abjuring and denying them. Almost 500 years ago a man came up with a revolutionary idea, an idea that nobody had demonstrated scientifically before him. He decided to announce his discovery in a treatise which he entitled: De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestium. We are in 1543. This scientist is Niccolò Copernico. His book is now considered the birth cry of the modern age. He realized that it was impossible for his theory to be accepted. The discovery that the Earth is not at the centre of the Universe, and that the Sun does not go around the Earth, but rather that the Earth goes around the Sun, was simply too much to bear. So, in expounding and demonstrating his theory he took two precautions: one, he dedicated his book to the Pope, Paolo III. The second precaution was to publish it posthumously, after his death, just to be on the safe side.

Martin Luther King Memorial Day
I have a dream that one day… little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers (march on Washington, on august 28, 1963) This year on the 17TH of January America stops, and even Wall Street halts any financial activities  to celebrates Martin Luther King Memorial Day, the official holiday in honour of the hero of the civil rights movement and one of the greatest dreamers of last century. Nevertheless, 25 years after its official institution there is still a strong reluctance in many states to accept this holiday as a United States federal one; and it still stays as a black-American celebration, judging from the scarce attention of the national press, which almost ignores this anniversary, and the limited presence of white people to the traditional Gala Concert at Lincoln Centre. May be it is time to turn the ML King’s Day into a deeper and more universal anniversary and dedicate it to the celebration of all the Dreamers of the planet, to their unique capacity to believe that Dream is the most real thing there is and in fact change the world through dreaming. In short, a celebration of the individual, being aware that only the individual can dream and transform poverty into prosperity, difficulties into understanding, fear into love. A society where the recognition of the civil rights is given for granted and parity between men, beyond colour, races and creeds, is no more an issue, there will be no place in the calendar for such a celebration and no need to commemorate the martyrs died young for the cause of overcoming any social disparity.

The root of disparity 
The main important root of every disparity between men, of every injustice or lack of freedom, the true difference from which all others originate is their degree of inner responsibility. Men belong to different levels of Being. This is the true difference between them. Even though human beings appear similar; the differences between them are like an eternity. Like zoological species at different stages of evolution, their beings belong to evolutionary periods that are often immeasurably distant from one another.   All man’s assertions, his most noble declaration and the struggles, wars and revolutions made in the name of liberty and justice have all been in vain and have left everything as it was. Wars, revolutions and every other attempt to give human beings equality, justice and peace have failed because they’re based on the belief that there was an evil to fight and external obstacles to eliminate. In reality, wealth, privileges and social disparities are only effects and the reflection of a much deeper difference. It’s in the Being, in our breathing and feelings that everything happens. Evolution of the masses is impossible! This is why all the old systems have failed. No war, revolution or ideology has ever been able to reform, regenerate, revive mankind… Escape is only for a few… Only the individual can make it… The true transformation of humanity happens through the transformation of one single individual who achieves his own integrity, the totality of himself.

Without individuals, without their will in action, there isn’t profit or progress, there isn’t business or wealth. They’re the salt of the earth. Great political empires and financial fortunes crumble and disintegrate without them.