is all about how you define
it. Though many speak of individuality, seldom is it defined and, really, doesn't all rational debate
stem from an accepted set of definition
s? There are a few schools of thought
on the matter that are of interest.
Some people believe that, in order to be an individual, one must not embrace any thought but one's own and, instead, gather raw data and form one's own thoughts. Allowing another's thought to become accepted in its original form would be a complete collapse of one's individuality. This is all well and good but it is a relatively safe assumption that there is no human being on Earth that adheres to this completely.
Instead, what usually happens is that one will begin by absorbing many ideas and thoughts on a topic and then either adopting one of the gathered viewpoints, adapting one slightly, or combining any or all into a comprehensive point of view. Some will argue that this is not individualism since one is simply choosing from available ideas and not forming one's own. However, this viewpoint is valid because proponents of this form of individualism will also purport that humans are the sum of all their parts - a vector-like entity for all you physics nerds. For instance, if someone believes that homosexuality, abortion, and divorce are morally wrong, they are different from someone who believes that divorce is okay but the other two are morally wrong. Since no two humans share the exact same beliefs, this makes everyone an individual.
Since the first theory on individualism is essentially universally exclusive and the second universally inclusive, neither truly helps in forming a basis for debate. However, using the second theory and asserting that some people are more of an individual than others is a very useful base for debate on the matter.
To truly be an individual, all one must do is to think for oneself. Simply holding an opinion based on fact(s) and not on others' ideas is enough. To seek to be regarded as an individual, however, is socially dependent and to be socially dependent is not to be an individual. Trying to be regarded as an individual is the opposite of being one. One of the great things about being human is that we benefit from society yet we do not need its collective blessing to survive. People laud individuals, yet individuals do not intend or need to be lauded. Those who seek praise as a primary goal and seek to be an individual as a means to accomplishing that goal are missing the point.