Reflections about the concept of being in the world and the coexistence with the other

AuthorJetmira Fekolli
PositionUniversity of Tirana
Vol. 3 No. 1
May, 2017
Balkan Journal of Interdisciplinary Research
IIPCCL Publishing, Graz-Austria
ISSN 2410-759X
Acces online at
Re ections about the concept of being in the world and the coexistence with
the other
Jetmira Fekolli
University of Tirana
1. Interpretation of the thought about the individual-society relationship
We usually come to know ourselves by basing our own experience on the contacts
that we have with the outside world. Even Williams James, who is one of the
founding fathers of psychology, has said that understanding who we are, the sense
of “me” (knowing) is a result of the experiences that we have with the others. Social
comparison is one of the tools that we use to learn about ourselves. We can determine
our math skills by comparing our achievements with those of the others. Leon Festiger,
best known for his research on the social comparison, thinks that our self-esteem
is directly in uenced when we compare ourselves with the others (Leon Festinger,
1954). We tend to make the individual responsible for everything that happens, for
every social problem. Durkheim thinks di erent. Society is composed by social facts
that overcome our intuitive sense.
When people answer the question “who am I? They tend to focus on things that
are exclusively applied to them, and they described themselves as unique when
compared with the others. For example, children answered this question by saying
whether they are boys or girls, especially when they come from a family where their
gender does not constitute the majority of family’s gender (McGuire, 1981). So, by
being the only boy in the family, being the only male, it makes you di erent and you
become part of the respective self-concept. In the same way, people prefer to mention
their race and ethnicity, especially when these characteristics make them distinctive,
or they prefer to say that they are fat or slim when these qualities are special and
exclusively applied to them (McGuire, 1978).
The modern era with its philosophy went back to reasoning by giving us a new
idea about individualism. What are some of the determining features of this kind of
individualism? Firstly, we have the secularism of society. Since the Renaissance, the
dominance of European society by Christianity was shaken. The natural right was
modernized, which meant that this right was valid if God was not existent. Now
the reason gained its place by throwing away every element of faith. So, the stoic
individualism and then the Christian one, appeared in a purer way. The modern
individualism took from stoicism the idea of a harmonious and transcendental cosmos
with humanity. Now, the society came to be determined as a product of a union, of a
contract reached between independent individuals. That’s how the modern freedom
began to develop its own features of the rule of law. Of course, this process was also
in uenced by other historical social factors of the new era that was being born. As a
result, Protestantism began to favor capitalism and, consequently, the individualism
of the market economy. Completion of legal systems by the end of the XVIII century
and the beginning of the XIX century consolidated the safeguards and guarantees of
individual freedoms. The crisis of the collective values le its place to the individual

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT