Examine the cult of the individual
Craig Mazerolle - NB Media Coop
October 7, 2009
While spending my second night in a row at the Chalmers’ Hospital in Fredericton, a visit that was marked by yet another slew of tests and long waits, I was marched down a long series of hallways to the hospital’s Radiology Department.
Two consecutive, seven-hour ER trips has a way of tempering one’s appetite towards hospitals, and so I must admit that the prospect of laying on a cold, sterile table while X-Rays were shot through my lower abdomen was a less than appealing prospect at that moment. So, as I nervously waited outside in the Radiology Department’s waiting room, my eyes fell to the coffee table beside me in the hope that something might be there to take my mind off what was to soon transpire.
There were only two things on the table: a worn and battered copy of TIME magazine (that was opened to an all too appealing article titled, “Malaria”), and a copy of the NB Media Co-op’s August Edition of The Brief.
Even though I have poured over that little gem from the NB Media Co-op countless times before, I could not help but glance over the articles. And so, as I was let into the examination room, the fresh rage stemming from Dave Steele’s article about Downtown Fredericton, Inc.’s removal of posters acted as a strange comfort as countless X-Rays were fired all over.
We are often told in today’s world that we must always be thinking of ourselves. Be it neoliberalism or New Age, the message of our times is to always be working to improve ourselves, and – in doing so – we are also led to believe that the problems of the world will all somehow fall into place.
Be it justifying acts of charity by calling it “resume-building”, self-help books that talk of positive thinking as the cure for all, or conceptions of discrimination and oppression that ignore systemic causes in light of “individual intolerance”, we are constantly surrounded by such a pervasive individualism that some have gone as far to say that North America has become a “cult of the individual”.