“This kind of entrenchment process can help explain the slide in the culture of authenticity. The self-centered forms are deviant, as we saw, in two respects. They tend to center fulfillment on the individual, making his or her affiliations purely instrumental; they push, in other words, to a social atomism. And they tend to see fulfillments as just of the self, neglecting or delegitimizing the demands that come from beyond our own desires or aspirations, be they from history, tradition, society, nature or God; they foster, in other words, a radical anthropocentrism.
It is not hard to see how both of these stances come to be entrenched in modern industrial societies. From its very inception, this kind of society has involved mobility, at first of peasants off the land and to cities, and then across oceans and continents to new countries, and finally, today, from city to city following employment opportunities. Mobility is in a sense forced on us. Old ties are broken down. At the same time, city dwelling is transformed by the immense concentrations of population of the modern metropolis. By it very nature, this involves much more impersonal and casual contact, in place of the more intense, face-to-face relations in earlier times. All this cannot but generate a culture in which the outlook of social atomism becomes more and more entrenched.”