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Today's individuals are still subject to the trap that Mill described over 40 years ago. Individuals feel they are trapped (as indeed they are) because "their visions and their powers are limited to the close-up scenes of job, family, neighborhood." They live in a hurried culture, where "…

Introduction


Today's "consumer society" has further strengthened this trap. Since the industrial age, social bonds that were previously an essential part of everyday life have become only secondary concerns amidst the new forms of collective behavior espoused by large commercial institutions, where individuality is no longer valued. Individuals are now replaceable cogs in a wheel, not an essential part of anything deemed "important" in the grand scheme of things.
It is true what Mills says: an increasing awareness of events in the wide world leads to an increasing awareness of one's powerlessness, with the seeming irrelevance of everyday life amidst the workings of contemporary society, "with its alienating methods of production, its enveloping techniques of political domination," so that individuals are not able to fully understand the greater sociological patterns related to their private troubles.
Examples are everywhere. One is the women of today; feminism and related movements, while ensuring that women are no longer relegated to being "domestic goddesses," also throw them into ambivalence about their roles in the family. ...
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