The tendency to think and work independently of others or without submitting oneself to general norms.
The philosophical tendency to defend the autonomy and supremacy of the rights of the individual in relation to society and the state.
Reading the quotations above (and all the others that we could add) it seems clear that we are speaking of a realty that has been present in all cultures from the beginning. We will not enter the debate as to whether individualism is intrinsic to human nature or not (the first meaning above seems to refer to that). It is more interesting to be aware that what we understand as individualism today (either as a philosophical tendency or cultural category) has deep roots and a history linked, strangely enough, to Christian reflection on the human person.
In this reflection we do not want to ignore the richness of the diverse cultural contexts of our formation communities. However, given the fact that Christian philosophy and theology has developed fundamentally in the “west”, we will concentrate our attention there. This is also valid when we think of the origin of our Sacred Hearts religious life.