We are always doomed to self-destruction, "vanity all is vanity" describes our lives without God.
You and I given the right sin or circumstances (apart form God) would self-destruct, poof!
Expressive Individualism came with Lucifer's sin, his pride.
Then it was presented to and accepted by Eve and then Adam. Then person after person from womb to tomb perpetrates this upon each other and the world, until the end of time.
Think of all the rebellions in the heavenly realm (There have been several) and mankind's ongoing rebellions - The Flood, The Tower of Babel etc. and so we find ourselves today in this Modern age still in rebellion.
Our hubris is unrelenting and unrepentant. Our inventions and technology draws us further into ourselves and into sin and pride.
God always loving and full of grace grants us daily common grace as he feeds and cloths even the most evil and vile human. All of God's faithful, still full of sin: he gives us yet one more day to repent. His Son came and paid the price for all our sins, we are redeemed.
Those of us who have followed Christ pray, confess, repent, read scripture and yes sin again.
We are in the process of being made more Christ-like.
Life is hard and short.
Trueman analyzes the work of philosopher Charles Taylor, sociologist Philip Rieff, and ethicist Alasdair MacIntyre. This part sets up the framework of history Trueman will write about. Trueman uses their analysis to identify the cultural constructs of worldview, plausibility structures, assumptions, opinions, etc., which Charles Taylor’s calls, “social imaginaries”.
Theses imaginaries create the culture we live in today.
Carl Trueman shows us how some of the dominoes have fallen to get us where we are today.
He takes us from Jean-Jacques Rousseau who constructed the foundations of modern self expression with his idea of “the noble savage. Then we are shown that the conception of the self, promoted by Rousseau, was then propagandized and introduced by the Romantic poetry of Wordsworth, Shelley, and Blake to name a few. The “authentic self” was made attractive by Romantic-period literature followed by the philosophical, political, and metaphysical rationale from Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Charles Darwin to name a few.
Darwin said that "above is only sky" not God, Nietzsche said meaning/truth cannot come from outside the self, Marx then politicized everything (sound familiar?).
Freud then took Rousseau’s concept of the authentic self and made it a psychology issue, he sexualized it. The fuse was lit and the thinkers of the New Left went to work, the rest is history. Trueman states, “The self must first be psychologized; psychology must then be sexualized; and sex must be politicized”.
We have justified our efforts to take what the Lord gives as a gift and twist it to our own selfish and sometimes evil ends. In our politicized social environment where the foundational truth from God has been relativized into consumer choices of course anything goes.
The ultimate reality of which we arrogantly refuse to admit to is we cannot know or create our "authentic selves" only God can do that.
We are image bearers of God, we are his children, he has created us the way he desires us to be, which is beyond our wisdom to question. When we so arrogantly decide we can change any of theses things we heap suffering and despair upon ourselves. Our yearnings will never be satisfied.
If you look through this lens of expressive individualism you will see all of our culture, all people are inflicted with it from the expressive individualists that stormed the nations capital (to save us from???) and then spent much time on social media idolizing themselves to the so called left who promote the twisted logic of sex change, transgenderism etc. we are overdue for God's judgement. This is plainly evident and beyond denial.
This book is a must read for Christians!!!
Through it we can reexamine some of the root causes of our social breakdown (and Christian breakdown) instead of just focusing on parts of it.
All of us are sick with "expressive individualism" I know I am even though I try to be more social my experiences in life and the culture have built it into my psyche.
We have fooled ourselves through our sin (in self and culture) and our outright rejection of our creator. We of course can't see the forest for the trees. Mankind's history of rebellion is culminating yet again in disaster, self-destruction.
Pray, read scripture, confess and repent. Be the light and the salt in your family and community. Flee sin, flee tribes and politics that herd you like cattle into a curated hall of mirrors, echo chambers of sin and folly.
Be counter cultural!!