The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
The Americans’ ‘open-mindedness’, which is sometimes cited in their favor, is the other side of their interior formlessness. The same goes for their ‘individualism’. Individualism and personality are not the same: the one belongs to the formless world of quantity, the other to the world of quality and hierarchy. The Americans are the living refutation of the Cartesian axiom, ‘I think, therefore I am’: Americans do not think, yet they are. The American ‘mind’, puerile and primitive, lacks characteristic form and is therefore open to every kind of standardization.