Here’s an Academy of Ideas remix:

“While collective action, in the sense of cooperation among groups of people to achieve common ends, is obviously an important vehicle for manifesting change, it will be ineffective at bringing freedom to an unfree world if people do not first strive to set themselves right, free their minds of the incessant indoctrination that they have been exposed to, and in the process develop into strong, independent and effectual beings.

Over the past several generations, it is the nation state which has most commonly been elevated to the position of the supreme collective by those who desire and seek to rule over others.

Indoctrinating people to worship the collective of one’s nation is extremely valuable for politicians, as they are viewed as the leaders of these collectives – and thus the more people who identify with the nation state, the more minds those in power have under their control.

But while offering immense benefits to the ruling elite of a nation, this form of collectivism paves the way for tyranny.

As Carl Jung explained in Civilization in Transition:

‘The increasing dependence on the State is anything but a healthy symptom; it means that the whole nation is in a fair way to becoming a herd of sheep, constantly relying on a shepherd to drive them into good pastures.

The shepherd’s staff soon becomes a rod of iron, and the shepherds turn into wolves.’

The ability to indoctrinate people to believe in the supremacy of a certain collective, and thus to be turned into what Jung called a ‘herd of sheep’ is crucial for a tyrannical regime to maintain control over a population.

A tyrannical regime will only maintain power if they can control the minds of their subjects.

When one realizes that gaining control of the minds of individuals is the most vital means for controlling a population, it becomes clear that the first step in countering tyranny is to undergo the difficult process of freeing one’s own mind.

As psychologist Jordan Peterson wrote in Maps of Meaning:

‘Our petty weaknesses accumulate, and multiply, and become the great evils of state. As our technological power expands, the danger we pose increases – and the consequences of our voluntary stupidity multiply.

It is increasingly necessary that we set ourselves – not others – right, and that we learn explicitly what that means.’

Concentrating first and foremost on setting ourselves right should not be viewed as selfish…. On the contrary, those who set themselves right and free their minds from indoctrination provide a great service to others.

As human beings we all face similar struggles. Therefore, those who find solutions for themselves act as role models for other members of a society.

According to the great historians Will and Ariel Durant, a study of history reveals that a healthy society depends upon ‘individuals with clarity of mind and energy of will… capable of effective responses to new situations.’

Nietzsche wrote that ‘self-reliant, independent, unprejudiced [people are] the pillars of a strong civilization.’

While the historian Arnold Toynbee suggested that ‘a loss of creative power in the souls of creative individuals’ is one of the key factors that leads to the breakdown of civilizations.

With this in mind, it should be clear the crucial role that individuals must play in the creation of a free world. For what is needed most in a society dominated by oppressive government is role models who show by example what it means to be free.

As existential philosopher Albert Camus once put it:

‘The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.’

Without such people, no collective action, no mass movements, no election of a new leader who promises ‘change’ will ever bring about anything but temporary and superficial relief.

In Boundaries of Order, Butler Shaffer wrote:

‘This is the only way in which any meaningful social change can ever take place; it will either arise within each individual, or it will not occur at all….

Those who insist upon change… as something to be imposed upon mankind by institutional authorities, have given up on people. They have lost their confidence in the life processes that exhibit themselves only within individuals….’

While we are taught to believe that the individual is impotent in the presence of the great social problems, which confront us today, the truth is the individual is far more powerful than commonly believed.

One who has freed their mind, set themselves right, and in pursuit of the truth is unafraid to boldly speak their mind, even in the face of severe opposition, has, in the words of Carl Jung, ‘unknowingly and involuntarily become a leader’ – a role model which others will naturally strive to emulate.

Such an individual will have become one less pawn in an oppressive system, and whether they are aware of it or not, will have assumed a crucial role in the regeneration of society.

As Jung observed in Civilization In Transition:

‘The psychology of the individual is reflected in the psychology of the nation… [Therefore,] only a change in the attitude of the individual can initiate a change in the psychology of the nation. [As above, so below.]

The great problems of humanity were never yet solved by general laws, but only through regeneration of the attitudes of individuals.’

We must become physicians of culture, and not only diagnose the sicknesses of our age, but also heal their manifestations in ourselves by discovering a new set of values and worldview which can reinstate the dignity and potential grandeur of the individual.

As Nietzsche wrote in Beyond Good and Evil, we need to ‘[apply] the knife vivisectionally to the chest of the very virtues of [the] time’ in order ‘to know a new greatness of man… a new untrodden way to his enhancement.’

When a body is sick, it is individual cells which heal it. And so too, when a civilization is sick, it is up to individuals to heal themselves, and in so doing, contribute to the healing of the whole.

As Carl Jung concluded, ‘in reality only a change in the attitude of the individual can bring about a renewal in the spirit of nations. Everything begins with the individual.'”