When being asked if we are held accountable for the actions of the distant past in the present day, I found myself recalling a conversation between a myself an a friend of mine. We had a similar discussion when he asked if I loved America. When I tried to answer, all I could think about were things like the Trail of Tears, Slavery, the Civil War, Project MK Ultra, Watergate, the Bay of Pigs, and the invention of the atomic bomb. Luckily before I could answer, he was able to remind me of the art, literature, humanitarian efforts, the goals America has striven to fulfill in the "American Dream." I do believe we in the present should be held somewhat accountable for the actions of the past. We live in a world where we are dealt a certain hand of cards to start with. It is what one does with ones surroundings which dictates what sort of person they will become and what life they shall lead. The collective has brought you into the world and made you a part of it. Changing whether you stay or go from one collective or another is up to you after a certain point, but there is also always the opportunity to make your original collectives better than how you came into them.
I'm not certain Hamlet ever did resolve these questions. On one hand, Hamlet took his own personal freedom into his own hands by choosing to take revenge on Claudius. However, was that really his own decision to take personal freedom, or was this the decision made by the collective which he agreed with? Is there a difference? I believe so. Throughout the play Hamlet is hurt and confused. He himself doesn't know what sort of a world he wants anymore. One moment he wants to commit suicide, and the next he's decided to murder his uncle. While I would not dare say Hamlet was successful in answering the dilemma between personal freedom and the demands of the collective, I would say he at least tried; albeit unconsciously.
2312 portrays individual freedom and the oppression of the collective in some varied and bizarre ways. The first instance of personal freedom that stood out most to me, was in the amount of body augmentation. In today's society, having cosmetic surgery of any kind causes a great deal of scrutiny. In the world of 2312, it is not uncommon to have expansions to the brain for birdsong, vocal chord implants to make one purr, extra sex organs to make one more androgynous or omni-gendered. That's just scratching the surface beyond the longevity treatments causing theoretically functional immortality. The opposition of the collective can be found on Earth, and to a lesser degree, on Mars. Martian culture is seen with much disdain throughout the book, as they are often seen as snobbish and oppressive with their beliefs. We aren't given much to go on beyond the derogatory stereotypes of Martian society. However, we are told much about Earth and all its shortcomings. Earth bears a strong prejudice against Spacers for their freedoms and augmentations. Going beyond the body augmentations, Terrans on Earth are afraid of Spacers for their wanderlust; branding them untrustworthy and flaky at best. There are many more examples, but this was one way I felt was the strongest example.