On human nature (from page 187):

 

.... The full record of modern life suggests neither atomism’s “inherent” appeal to human beings, all else being equal—precisely because all else has not been equal—nor atomism’s unambiguous appeal even once it has made its conquests.  Atomists try to dismiss backlashes and alienation as just so much immaturity, on the part of shortsighted people unwilling to face up to the world’s meaninglessness.  All their talk of modern atomism’s resonance with human nature founders because people’s sentiments have really been quite mixed.  Atomists cannot appeal to only some human tastes and not others.  The very way atomist rhetoric works, with nihilism at its base, rules out any higher standard for treating some human desires as inherent and others as shortsighted pathology.  For every person who dreams of being told all is permitted, there is someone else who finds the soulless egoism of our times dispiriting.  Which one does not represent “humanity”?....

 

 

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