From early childhood we are made to aspire towards the same goals and covet the same things. Individuality is encouraged but within confines. It is a false acceptance of Individuality because in reality true individuality is discouraged and sometimes literally beaten out of people.
The Mantra can be rephrased as – Be the best that you can be (do the most that you can do) vs. do whatever you want to do.
The individual self is a threat to the mass produced nature of the corporate complex. Individuality means variety, but the systems of mass production can only profit on large numbers of the same objects — A limited range of desire is required and hence a conformist desire is projected.
E.g. Forget getting to design your own car you can’t even pick any color. You can only pick colors from those offered by the car company. Now sure you can get it painted in any color you like.. but why not then sell a blank car at a discount. Do I hear the universal echo of “economies of scale” being shouted by business people everywhere, not to mention law enforcement that might need to describe the color etc.
This seems practical and it is.. for products though not for people. The thought that a range of options is the same as true individuality when made towards a lifestyle and choice of career is what is truly stifling for the human condition.
This is the case because if we did not in some way confuse conformist desire with true desire we would see through the mirage that is consumerism and its promise of fulfilling our inner desires with products.
Hence we are confused into thinking we are individuals when in reality we are being cajoled into conforming to pre-molded roles that can then be categorized, segmented, marketed to and finally capitalized on.