no return to the simple self

Once people have made several incremental and voluntary commitments, they form increasingly complex interactions with community, which is how they establish themselves as individuals.

Dewey argues there is no going back: There is no return to the simple self.

Any return is a simulation of simplification, and maintaining those artifical and antithetical stresses would necessarily distort any commitments, producing a “bewildered individuality.”

The nostalgia of return is itself antithetical to the simple life, due to the stress it causes.

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