A follow-up to yesterday’s post: a bit from the New York Times’ David Brooks.
Brooks talks about “the haphazard self” that working-class men try to build for themselves in our current age, and the war between our cultural drive for autonomy and these dads’ desire to be embedded in their childrens’ lives, and good dads: the men list ‘being a good dad’ as a priority, but ‘being committed to my child’s mother’ doesn’t come close, apparently; there is a problem of attachment in general, closely associated with the drive for autonomy:
The men are also loosely attached to churches. Most say they are spiritual or religious. But their conception of faith is so individualized that there is nobody else they could practice it with. They pray but tend to have contempt for organized religion and do not want to tie themselves down to any specific community.
“I treat church just like I treat my girlfriends,” one man said. “I’ll stick around for a while and then I’ll go on to the next one.”
You can read more here, but you get the point. The principles of autonomy and the principles of community may not be compatible in the end. Autonomy rules the roost at the moment, though. There is no saying what community looks like if and when the elastic breaks, though, or else snaps back.