By: Rony Vexelman

The Tnua, our tnua, is undoubtedly one of the most complex from the ideological standpoint, because in its basis there is the idea of pluralism and tolerance that creates in our bogrim [graduate members] a complicated vision of the idea to be transmitted and of the aim to fulfill. The movement’s ideology is based on four complementary educational aims that are summarized by: IDENTIFICATION OF THE PEOPLE WITH THE PEOPLE’S LAND; HUMANIST AND LIBERAL VALUES; DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY, CREATIVITY, AND CAPABILITY; and ECOLOGICAL COMMITMENT. And on four pillars or dimensions that are as follows: MAN, JEW, ZIONIST, and CHALUTZ [pioneer]. These are concepts that undoubtedly lead to a maxim, HAGSHAMA ATZMIT [SELF REALIZATION]. But we must ask ourselves, what is this concept? What does it mean?

Since the beginning, the concept of personal realization has been an obsession of philosophers of renown who always strived to find the final aim of the human being. Aristotle in Ancient Greece, and Kant during the Enlightenment, are two of the most important ones.

Aristotle always considered HAPPINESS as the aim of the human being, hence as the achievement of his personal realization. To him, happiness is not a state of mind but rather the true goal of every human being, men always strived to be get to be happy, some wanted money, others, power, but all sought these ends as necessary bases for getting to be happy.

The Aristotelian Hagshama Atzmit could only be achieved through the development of the human being’s own capability, the use of reason. That was the true means to reach happiness, reasoning, thinking, and acting according to that which society sought and according to that which man found to be correct.

It is important to emphasize that the Greek polis, the name by which Ancient Greece’s
Athens was known, was the democratic framework par excellence; in which every human being should fulfill its function in the search for the common good, as a good citizen and as a member of the collective realization. Therefore, the community’s happiness was as important as the individual’s happiness, or even more so.

To Kant, however, personal realization was completely different. He, seeing himself influenced by the Enlightenment and the changes taking place with the arrival of modernity, considered that the ultimate end of the human being was to be FREE. But what is freedom in Kant; it is simply the capability of every human being to reason by himself and to reach his own conclusions, which lead him to be aware of his actions and therefore to self-regulate.

The Kantian Hagshama Atzmit was acquirable solely through reaching what he called (intellectual) legal adulthood, or the Enlightenment of the human being. According to his theory, man was dependent at the beginning, he always listened and repeated, he was a minor; the Enlightenment allowed man to think by himself and to act according to a complex reasoning about society’s laws and rules.

The concept is a confused one, of course, how can one talk about seeking freedom as the ultimate end and at the same time talk about laws, rules, and self-regulation? We find the answer in one of the foundations of the French Revolution, the social contract, through which man commits himself to strive to be better, to develop his highest capability (reason), in order to succeed in building from the individual a better society of Enlightened men who think by themselves and hence are free. In other words, freedom was the possibility of thinking and debating about the laws in order to understand and accept them.

If we take into consideration these two visions of what man’s Personal Realization is, knowing that there are many other trends, we can see the complexity of the term; however, we ask of our madrichim [guides] to understand it and carry it out.

The tnua proposes as Hagshama Atzmit the realization of the chaver [member] as a chalutz, understanding this as the proper connection between personal interests and national necessities as a sample of the individual responsibility and commitment towards the people and the requirements of the country (Israel).

Once again we can ask ourselves, what does Hagshama Atzmit mean? There is no doubt that the answers we find will be varied, each including some of the three theories presented [above] or formulating one of its own and saying that THAT is the correct one; and all of us will accept it as valid because it belongs to our tnua, but is it correct?

The theories of this philosopher and the other are alike those of our tnua, but each has something of its own and special: in the first case, the achievement of communal happiness in order reach personal happiness; in the second case, the achievement of individual freedom for collective liberation; and in the third case, the personal and national development as a sample of the commitment and responsibility for the people and our country.

Hanoar Hatzioni demands us, as COHERENT manhiguim [leaders] and madrichim, to educate towards Hagshama Atzmit, towards a concept so vast and ambiguous, so abstract and so rich. It asks of us, youngsters 14 – 21 years’ old (in average), to understand such a complex term and transmit it to our chanichim [undergraduate members], younger of course, so that they understand it and try to achieve it. Obviously it sounds like some kind of an impossible mission. The problematics of today, of finding our ideology and practicing it, starts from the principle of the complexity of our highest aim and from the so difficult task of agreeing on a single definition of it.

As a boguer who is ready to make a giant step towards the fulfillment of this aim, I dare say that these problematics can be solved, and that although we should embrace and accept our movement’s basis of tolerance and pluralism, we should not confuse it and disguise it as indulgence, this meaning that our acceptance of the different visions of the significance of Hagshama Atzmit does not mean that we will allow to leave aside its bases: the proper connection between personal interests and the needs of


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