I have often wondered if we can be anything but confused about life and all it encompasses. We are a selfish and self centered species, sure at times we can be generous, thoughtful, kind, self-sacrificial, even loving, and maybe there are those that possess these qualities most or all of the time. I wish I could.
We have groups that oppose collectivism and individualism, you could think of these two groups as Law verses Chaos but that is rather simplistic and quite inaccurate.

I am going to use Wikipedia for defining these two concepts:

Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the dependence of human beings on others (in contrast to independence or interdependence). Collectivism is a basic cultural element that exists as the reverse of individualism in human nature (in the same way high context culture exists as the reverse of low context culture), and stresses the priority of group goals defined by a few over the goals of individuals and the importance of compliance within social groups (such as an "in-group", in what specific context it is defined). Collectivists usually focus on community, society, or nation. It is used and has been used as an element in many different and diverse types of government and political, economic and educational philosophies throughout history and most human societies.

Link here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collectivism

Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes "the moral worth of the individual".[1][2] Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance[3] while opposing external interference upon one's own interests by society or institutions such as the government.[3]

Link here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individualism

When one first looks at these supposedly opposing views both seem to have merit.  But in actuality they are really quite similar, if not identical.

Lets start with the Collectivist. The Collectivist is basically a group of individuals that share a common interest (not to be confused with a universal common good, just the group's). Now the definition of a group for this discussion will be two or more individuals. So, with this definition a group can be considered an individual with the pursuit of one's (the group's) own interests.

Now lets tackle the Individualist. The Individualist is basically just one individual in pursuit of one's own interests.

That was pretty simple, so what does it really all mean? I don't know, that's why I am confused.