Self-Respect and Defending Ourselves from Massification

April 10, 2014

German clothing

As we have seen, a certain standardization is needed to ensure adequate production. To insist that all production be adapted to the individual is not realistic. We must also avoid the opposite extreme of affirming that all products can be standardized indifferently without harming the individual.

Tailors, Shoemakers, Hatters, Furriers, of the trade

Tailors, Shoemakers, Hatters, Furriers, etc…tools of the trade

How standardization affects us differs as each individual is unique. We naturally tend to express ourselves in terms of consumption that corresponds to our psychological, moral, and physical development. Hence, some people might have a problem in using a particular standardized product while others experience none. To use a very simple example, a ready-to-wear coat might feel comfortable on some because of their particular build but uncomfortable on many others.


We note that, when exposed to large amounts of mass-produced products, there is a point where we ourselves feel “standardized” and “massified.” That is to say, we need to assess the degree of standardization that we can accept and still retain our personality. We need to determine that measure beyond which we cannot cede an inch lest it harm our development. This can be seen in the case of fads and fashions that become obsessive or lead many to act in a manner contrary to their well-being or personality. One should have sufficient love and self-respect so that, when sensing a loss of personality, steps can be taken towards diminishing the standardizing influence.


John Horvat, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 289.


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