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The They
Martin Heidegger felt that much of our human freedom is constrained by the opinions of others.

In a remarkable section of his major work, Being and Time, Heidegger examined the many ways in which we give up our own authenticity because of the pressure of the mass expectations of others, even when we do not have any direct personal relationship with them.


Indeed, it is the fact of the relationships not really existing on a personal level that constitutes much of their force over us.

This analysis may be understood as Heidegger’s version of the work of individuation that is critical within Jung’s psychology, and to the emphasis Freud placed on the work of becoming an individual.

It is particularly intriguing that Heidegger was writing during Hitler’s own rise to power as head of a fascist state in which patriotism meant total belief in all official prejudices.

Contemporary critics of consumer politics have drawn support from Heidegger’s analysis. What has been callled 'keeping up with the Joneses' is simply our falling prey to the power of The 'They'.
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