Self and society could be said to be counter-images to each other but at the same time this has me postulating a more dialectic approach about whether self and society could not be viewed within the same light, within the same framework, and within the same relationship to one another. The commonality between the two in order to find those interwoven threads both share with one another is what I will attempt to show. This is important because society, in shaping the individual and how that same individual is in need of learning social responsibility in order to realize the role they play within that society, requires a person to look beyond one’s own self-needs and personal desires. Veterans of the armed forces have done this. With that being said, from a societal perspective it could be understood as such, but I find myself asking, who shapes society if not for the individual?
Ten years in the army taught me one thing and one thing well, how to survive. Even with the service-connected disability I have now, I still persevere, but I have noticed that the methods and techniques used to do this were derived from a selfish sense within me. This kept me first and others second, with me now and you later. Back as a member of society, I realized that the ways of overcoming adversity did not bring to bear the desired results once sought for. The taking that was necessary in order to allow myself to survive, had to be converted into giving, and adaptations with the new circumstances and situations into sharing. My adjustment back into civilian life took some time. Even my aspirations for graduate school would not even be possible if it were not for the Department of Veteran Affairs. It only makes sense to me to want to return back in the form of service to the service members and veterans still out there. A sense of ‘service’ towards others was inspired within me because of this; Service, a core value of the social work profession.
If society is going to be a place where individuals can excel, rather than just a place where people who fear of being an individual want to hide within the masses, the isomorphic reality of self and society will have to contain within it elements that help empower and strengthen the individual. Not having one avoid claims of utilitarian or equalitarianism, but striving to find that fine line before one must realize a complete need for a leveling process or ‘revaluation of values’ is important. At what point is it that society can give no more because its individual members have long since stopped giving of themselves?
The increasing number of homeless veterans within our country and society is alarming and the numbers are only projected to rise. From personal experience of being a homeless veteran the one thing I intend to advocate for is to see the personal dignity and worth of these individuals not casted aside and forgotten. Not only is the dignity and worth of the whole person a core value of the social work...