An oft quoted line attributed to Margaret Thatcher (http://wellaware1.com/bush.shtml) is “There is no such thing as society” popped into my awareness as a good starting point for this model.
My personal experience of life is that I have always felt as if everyone else that I met was “fitting in” better than I was. Whatever the situation was, I just never seemed to get it. While I happily accept that my various vaccinations as a child has no doubt made me autistic, i have recently formed the view that most people have the same self doubts that I always had.
Interestingly, by extending the length of the quote from infamous MT interview we find the basis of what I think is a very useful model about the individual, the family and how we should contribute to the collective…”And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first.” (http://briandeer.com/social/thatcher-society.htm)
The model which I think is most useful is this: Where an individual gains a benefit by participating in the collective, then the individual should participate. Where the individual is going to be harmed by participating in the collective, the individual should withdraw.
If an individual applies this model, then the concept of “taking one for the team” becomes a question of whether or not the action results in an overall benefit for the individual. Moreover, the whole concept of the basis in which any individual contributes to any collective, from the family unit, to the extended family, to the street, the village, town, city, state, country and the world at large becomes simple and unambiguous. Will I gain or lose by participating with this collective.
The net result for me in the application of this model is just a better life. I don’t need to be wanted by every collective and I don’t need to fit into every collective. Quite often, I just don’t get it… and guess what.. that is ok!