The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.But then most of us have always recognized ourselves by something outside ourselves and rightly so. For most of us it is by something outside ourselves that we find meaning, purpose, utility, art and joy. It is the what outside ourselves the is the mark of who we are. When we starting taking surnames we used that which we did or he whom we were descended from, we became Taylor, Fisher, Guntersen. Today most men are what they do still or the son or daughter of someone who still provides that external meaning. "What do you do" we hear when we are older, "What does your father do", we hear when we are younger. If not that then it is something else for us, the art we make, the deeds we do, the care we give, the group to which we belong, that we have long hair, that we believe X.Herbert Marcuse One-Dimensional Man
It is very few that recognize themselves by something that is fully within themselves and I will not venture to say that doing so is more enlightened than doing the other.
No, we have never been one-dimensional, not even we Americans. We have been perceived so, we have perceived ourselves so. Each time, though, it has been the one-dimensional examination of us that leads to this view, the fixation on some highly unique characteristic that we had, that the other (even when the other was ourself) could not see beyond to the other dimensions behind.
We recognize ourselves by things outside ourselves, sometimes those are commodities, our cars, our houses; sometimes they are not.