Society is a collective, but in the best sense. Not a collective of thought, work or duty as in the subjugation of the individual to the group, but of trust, safety and respectful tolerance. It is what allows us to live lives whose boundaries are inhibited only by our own morals, drive and intelligence. It is a collective in the sense that it cannot be achieved by one person alone, but only with the willing participation of one’s fellows. That participation is ‘inbuilt’ by our institutions, traditions and culture, which takes millennia to form. They represent the encapsulation of the lessons of the past in order to ensure the survival of the group into the future.
While their construction requires millennia; their destruction can take as little as three generations. Witness the 1960s hippies through to their nihilistic, millennial grandchildren.
The destruction of our institutions, traditions and culture is now almost complete. Along with them has gone that trust, safety and respectful tolerance. Not only have they almost disappeared, they are almost entirely forgotten. All that remains are the trappings of our civilization. Soon, the wealth too will have gone and then we shall return to how it was before – the rule of the mob by brute force. That is a collective of a very different sort.