The development of Western culture went in the direction of creating the basis for the full experience of individuality. By making the individual free politically and economically, by teaching him to think for himself and freeing him from an authoritarian pressure, one hoped to enable him to feel “I” in the sense that he was the center and active subject of his powers and experienced himself as such. But only a minority achieved the new experience of “I.” For the majority, individualism was not much more than a façade behind which was hidden the failure to acquire an individual sense of identity.
Fromm, Erich. P. 63, The Sane Society.
Many substitutes for a truly individual sense of identity were sought for and found. Nation, religion, class and occupation serve to furnish a sense of identity. “I am an American,” “I am Protestant,” “I am a businessman,” are the formulae which help a man experience a sense of identity after the original clan identity has disappeared and before a truly individual sense of identity has been acquired….In the United States..where there is so much social mobility…the sense of identity is shifted more and more to the experience of conformity. Fromm, Erich. P. 63, The Sane Society.
We have reached a state of individuation in which only the fully developed, mature personality can make fruitful use of freedom; if the individual has not developed his reason and his capacity for love, he is incapable of bearing the burden of freedom and individuality, and tries to escape into artificial ties which give him a sense of belonging and rootedness. Fromm, Erich. P. 71, The Sane Society.