Thoughts on the role of the pioneer individual in society

"The true individual can think for himself, unswayed by the heard mentality. Such self-conception in life enables greatness and genius. It is the pioneer individual who (ironically) brings forth what the society subconsciously yearns for. He leads them by becoming is true individual self.”

The Pioneering Effort that Presages Its Emergences in Society

We see how an individual's pioneering effort brings out an emerging element of the society that is subconscious to that society at the time. The vast success of Darwin's book Origin of the Species (sold out on the first day) lead the society out of parts of its folly, ignorance, and falsehood. Margaret Mitchell's enormous success with Gone with the Wind's in which the heroine is a difficult, though liberated woman presages the vast emergence of woman in 20th century. And Tom Peters enormous, unexpected success in In Search of Excellence helped accelerate the liberation and freedom of the individual in the workplace, an echo of the hippy phenomenon a few years earlier. Each was an overwhelming success, presaging the corresponding new emerging element in society.

If an individual can catch the wave of the emerging element in society -- there is always one or more -- he will have an overwhelming success in his work as these individuals did.

The Process of Social Development

There are three essential stages in the process of development. In the first stage, the society is prepared to move to a higher level of development through its surplus energies, awareness of possibilities, and its aspiration to see the possibilities through. In the second stage pioneer individuals in society express the aspiration in various ways. Finally, in the third stage the initiative of pioneering individuals are accepted, organized, and integrated in society.

Role of Pioneer Individuals in the Process of Social Development

Every new developmental activity is initially conceived and introduced by one or a few pioneers. The pioneer is one who sees, believes in and acts upon an opportunity which others fail to see or believe in or lack the energy or courage to pursue. The pioneer exhibits a new understanding, new attitudes, new skills and behaviors different from those prevalent in the community at the time. If the pioneer’s initiative is in tune with the social aspiration and social preparedness, it inspires and encourages other dynamic individuals to imitate or improve upon the new initiative.

Pioneers play a crucial role wherever a new activity needs to be seeded in the community for the first time. The first farmer in a village to shift from rice cultivation or sugarcane to growing fruits or flowers for export; the first teacher in a rural town to leave the security of a salaried job to establish a private tutorial institute, and the first industrialist to acquire a new manufacturing technology from overseas all serve as role models and catalysts for development in their respective fields of activity. Viewed from the perspective of the individual, it is the pioneer who initiates the collective process. But viewed from the perspective of the society, it is the collective that expresses its intention and aspiration through the initiative of the pioneer.

The role of the pioneer is vital to development, because the next stage of social progress almost always remains unseen by the collective. It is the free thinking, far seeking individual who dares to imagine or conceive what the popular mind is unaware of and then translates that vague possibility into a reality which all can see. Henry Ford became a pioneer and model for American industry early in this century by popularizing methods for mass production. Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express, pioneered creation of a new industry, the overnight parcel delivery business. The pioneer is usually not a rare exception or anomaly in society. He shares to a large degree its aspirations, knowledge and values. By acquiring one new or different attribute or behavior, he charts a new course and reveals a new possibility, all the time basing himself on the society’s present accomplishments and in most cases moving in a direction which the society has already indicated.

Step by Step Role of the Pioneer Individual in the Process of Social Development

Here is the step-by-step process of how society develops through the efforts of the pioneer individual:

Social Preparedness

  • Society has a surplus of energy at the current level
  • Society begins to become aware of new possibilities and opportunities
  • Society has a conscious or subconscious aspiration to move toward new possibilities and opportunities

Role of the Pioneer

  • The pioneer takes up some aspect of society's aspiration
  • The society accepts the pioneering efforts of the pioneer individual
  • The pioneering individual's initiatives are matched and multiplied by others in the same or similar areas.

Acceptance and Assimilation

  • The new initiative accepted buy society is matched by new, more complex forms of organization to help manifest the initiative
  • The movement of development becomes institutionalized throughout society (such as though education).
  • the development is further institutionalized though the culture of the family.

Though the society may be prepared for its ascent to a higher level of development, there still needs to be some agent to express this in action. That is the role of pioneering individuals. They are people who are willing to break out from the existing mold and try something new. Through their conscious action, they express some aspect of the aspirations that the society is only partially or subconsciously aware of.

The Acceptance or Rejection of the Pioneering Effort by Society

-The pioneer, the leader, the Avatar, etc., broaches the subject to the world. It comes to be accepted long after. Some token experiments succeed. They spread as an initial wave. Slowly either the government or the society or both take it up, give life to it, sponsor it, and give support in the form of a new organisation. That has been the history of any successful social movement until now.

-Society progresses through the pioneering efforts of certain individuals. That individual takes up the conscious or subconscious will of that society, and then embraces the new way, enabling it to spread throughout the collective. Sometimes the society attempts to destroy the emerging new influence, idea, product, etc. that the pioneer brings, especially if it is out of step with what is commonly accepted. The church attempted to destroy Galileo for his heliocentric view of the universe, and the reactionary forces in ancient Greece forced Socrates to take to Hemlock poison. In later times, of course, what they brought to bear, and who they were as personalities were acknowledged as great. One way they destroy an emerging pioneer is through the chink in his or her armor, such as a psychological defect or some other weakness. Jesus brought pioneer Love to the world, but the Romans destroyed him too because he did not have the spiritual strength that would have avoided persecution. Hamlet brought a new evolutionary urge of the Mind on the social collective, but the society too tried to destroy him because of limitations in his vital/emotional being. The same perhaps could be said of a Kennedy, a Clinton, and many others.

When one brings a new insight or evolutionary urge into the world, one must be prepared for the hostile reaction. It is the mischief of the dark side that opposes the light. If one has the strength, and the purity of consciousness, the hostility can be overcome. Such hostility comes when the change is vast or radical and is decidedly out of step with the society. Sometimes it is concomitant with society, poses no threat, and is still very helpful, such as those efforts of a Henry Ford or a Bill Gates that brought further developments in the areas of economic and organizational change. In these cases, they are swept up and adopted in full by the society, who are fully ready to move forward in that direction.

When we take to a decided change, we need to measure the forces around us who seek to help us or bring us down. We must also be aware of our own weaknesses, for it is through that point that the world will test us. Even if we are trying to be our own personal pioneer by moving to the next level of success in life, we also have to be aware of the mischief of the darkness and limitation that resides within our own selves.

Still taking to the new, especially rising the next evolutionary wave of society, though an idea or a product or service, etc. is open to everyone at any level in the 21st century.