1. a. A single human considered apart from a society or community: the rights of the individual.
b. A human regarded as a distinctive or unique personality: always treated her client as individuals; felt he was quite an individual.
2. A single organism as distinguished from a species, community or group.
3. A member of a collection or set; a specimen.
These are the basic definitions for the word individual.
In a narcissistic society, an individual can be defined in numerous and varied ways. Unfortunately however, people tend to define individuals in broader strokes and within stereotypical generic categories. This clumping of comparable types, set behaviors, etc., serves only to satisfy the like/dislike, positive/negative mentality of a mass community of people(s) in media, politics or religion. It is a convenience. It makes it genuinely easier to foist a limited view upon the greater population. Very productive as far as profits and propaganda are concerned, but not very useful in terms of one on one interaction.
On the other hand, persons of intelligence, with the ability for critical thought and understanding, realize that no two people are truly alike. A person's personality and mindset can be and often are as unique as one's fingerprints. For instance, given a set of circumstances, will two individuals endeavor to reach the same consensus, the same conclusions? Or will they debate the issue interminably with opposing viewpoints? Can a person of lesser intelligence be able to grasp the necessary knowledge to comprehend and proceed with what is laid out in front of them?
To get inside another person's head, must you walk a mile in their shoes? Is it necessary to share in their travels; be able to sense the direction; the emotions in their words? Complex questions need not demand complicated answers. There is much more to being a human individual than mere intelligence. A dose of compassion, compromise and humility would greatly aid a society so enraptured in technology but devoid of critical reciprocal communication.
In the midst of a supposed rational debate, it is mutual respect that will conquer an inevitable animosity. It may not result in an agreement, but it will reach a better perspective. After all, it is no more than valuing another's opinions as much as you would want them to respect yours.