I guess what it all comes down to is the issue of validation. And clinging. And fleeing from emptiness and groundless, meaningless contingence. And stuff like that.
We desperately seek validation. Desperately but mainly subconsciously. In the books that we read, the groups that we join, the friends that we make, the mates we choose, the institutions we attend, the traditions we ’adopt’ (or reject), the values we brandish, etc., etc. Without some (tacit) form of validation we feel inadequate, not enough; groundless. But who or what really has the authority to grant us a sense of being ’right.’ What/Who is ’certified’ to OK us and give the thumbs up? Whence the authority? Who can we trust to reassure and tell us what to do?
Well, isn’t it all just a series of choices we unwittingly drift into. Doesn’t it seem like a paradoxical loop where we endow external forms and formations with authority and then struggle to measure up to the standards that those formations (seemingly) require? [As for ‘formations:’ think of kinship relations, or nationality, or race, culture, tradition, gender roles, subcultures, religious groups, sects, gurus, memes, diet fads, commodity products, money, status and social standing, career, personal habits and hangups, etc. etc.] I think this is what Emerson and his notion of Self-reliance addresses. Although the self emerges out of the collective, out of the crucible of shared historicity, this (liquid) self is distorted and hence diseased the moment it clings to the (always already congealing) formations outside (and inside) it, even though these formations sustain its identity and rationale for being. Limbo.