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The Second Mountain Themes

David Brooks
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Interdependence

Brooks accuses modern culture of “hyper-individualism” which he finds destructive and “a conspiracy against joy;” he proposes selflessness and the recognition of our mutual inter-dependence as the cure (xxii). Hyper-individualism refers to putting individual wants and ambitions before all else. Then success, in turn, consists of achieving those wants or realizing those ambitions. This very mindset – what do I want, what can I achieve – makes others instruments of one’s wants at best, and intruders on one’s plans at worst. The individual gets pulled into a series of experiences, seemingly solely for the sake of experience or achievement alone, validated or seeking validation by photos on social media, as he describes in the insta-gram life of the insecure over-achiever (21).

The irony of this hyper-individualism and all of its public trappings is the emptiness and loneliness that accompany it. In striving and achieving, we are locked into ourselves...

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