Individualism in Habits of The Heart Essay

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Habits of The Heart create a vision of the middle class American life with all its good, bad, strengths and weaknesses. Its examines the conflict that exists between individuality and community in this country, as well as how these conflicts effect our ability to form relationships with others, whether it is in a public arena or our own intimate relationships with family and friends. The very word individualism means to look out for number one, it implies a me society that has lost it’s way from the way it use to be. The title “Habits Of The Heart” creates images of love, faith, hope and commitment to others, a sense of belonging to something larger than yourself. Does individualism really exist, or is it that people tend to forget where…show more content…
al., P.177). We must lessen our pursuit for self-gratification with our obligation to community. Bellah et, al writes "The self-interest demanded by the individualistic pursuit of success needs to be balanced by voluntary concern for others" (Bellah et. al., P.199). Bellah et.al write about Utilitarian individualism, which is “the basic economic understanding of human existence (Bellah et. al., 336), utilitarian individualism can include many types of behaviors, the pursuit of work, our callings or chosen professions (careers), Work is done by those whose only motivation is to support themselves and their families. Callings are chosen based on our beliefs and values of self and society. Careers are the pursuits of those seeking material rewards, power, recognition and other offerings of success (Bellah et. al.,P.65-67). Expressive individualism, based on emotion, the need for connectednes into our private lives or merge with others to form a whole (1996 P. 334). Bellah et al state “the problem with work and careers is they do not ground us, they do not provide us with a since of connectedness to society as a whole. According to Bellah et al the “absence of a sense of calling means an absence of a sense of moral meaning” so by leaving out the bigger picture commitment,
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