Vladimir Putin said in an interview that USA has the idea of the individual, Russia the idea of the collective.
Those two concepts need to be specified, put into a context, to work in real life, in society, the world.
He says more than this, but to many this is almost what politics is about – they see it as a choice between individual freedom and collective restrictions or dictatorship.
The choice between individual freedom and collective restrictions of different kinds can’t be made 100%.
There always has to be a balance.
Putin also says something about the (Russian) idea, I think, which goes into spiritual matters, into matters of our Creator.
He is a Christian, I tend to forget this because he looks and sounds much like a Soviet leader.
Complete individual freedom, this is my experience, you rarely experience, but in moments I feel really free and happy. You have to adjust to other people, more and less, their habits, society, depending on the situation.
I don’t really believe that any society restricts the movements of their citizens 100%, but if they did, it would of course be the perfect dictatorship.
Of course, not only legal restrictions is an issue, also social restrictions, which occur in all types of society, run by all types of government.
To experience collective freedom you need to feel at one with a group. The moment someone acts or speaks against the common spirit or habits, the common feeling goes, at least partly.
If you see either an idea of the collective wellbeing or the individual freedom as a mystery or an omnipresent fact, which you own or manage on behalf of God or on behalf of general ideas that everyone agrees to, you are walking on a dangerous path, because…who knows the exact meaning of those concepts, and who knows exactly how they should be made into government or to life, by an individual or by a group of people?
I don’t think you can tell once and for all, it has to be sorted out and changed from time to time. Freedom, restraint and social control form of itself patterns among us which are not eternal, but which works for a certain time, in a certain historical period, a certain area, in a certain group of people.
The ways of life, all our habits and ways of dealing with love, work, nature…all this, culture, is very different in the different parts of the world, and determines to a certain extent what is experienced as freedom and what as restraint.
If you believe that your version of society, and of freedom or of people’s welfare – is the only one possible or the only right one, you’re pretty much blind.
Then you are maybe ready for war, which will destroy the possibilities of developing our lives in peaceful ways, through having conversations and talks and forming friendships which affect our lives – not shooting at each other.
No society is perfect.