I’m reading some Charles Taylor. Never done it before, have seen him favorably noted at First Things, and have received answers to a few questions in class directing me to his book on Sources of the Self–I believe it is.
So I’m reading his briefer book, from which you can sample this:
“The agent seeking significance in life, trying to define him- or herself meaningfully, has to exist in a horizon of important questions. That is what is self-defeating in modes of contemporary culture that concentrate on self-fulfillment in opposition to the demands of society, or nature, which shut out history and the bonds of solidarity. . . . Otherwise put, I can define my identity only against the background of things that matter.”
Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity, 40.