I am not going to try to synopsize Looking Away right here. Actually, I should probably read the book before trying to do that. I will, however, quote the Amor Mundi newsletter, which I think is also talking about infectious individualism:
The common world, that world of appearance we share amidst our meaningful differences, is ever more fragile. In her book The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt worries that we lose faith in anything true or great that could unite plural individuals in a common world. She sees that the loss of a concern with immortality and with acts, deeds, and works that deserve to be remembered would deprive us of a shared world. All politics, Arendt writes, demands transcendence in the sense that we step beyond our solipsistic experiences and enter a world we share with others. Pursuing this Arendtian theme, Michael W. Clune in the LA Review of Books explores the effort of some contemporary art to cultivate the experience of "mere appearance," appearances so fleeting that they resist any shared commonality. Such art celebrates the radically individual transcendental experience against the transcendence of a common world: "Here is the fact: Something is wrong with the world. There is a fundamental flaw in society. Relations between people seem to have something wrong with them. Something ... off. Sometimes, when I want to share something with you, I realize that my experience has an unsharable dimension. I realize that we encounter each other only by peering across the thick boundary of our social personas. I don't know how to fix this problem, but I don't like it. I can only meet other people on the terrain of a common world that seems too heavy, too alien, too uncomfortable, too cold. Sometimes I protest by looking away, by watching the part of my experience that none of you can touch." For Clune, the effort of contemporary artists to dwell in mere appearance is, but is not only, a "turn away from the world."
If even art is turning away from the world we hold in common - and that is what I hear being discussed - we may be losing one of the antidotes to the infectious individualism that is convincing us, increasingly, that everything is to be referred to our individual experience, and that there is not, in fact, any truly "common world."
To the degree we believe that, and consider division rather than unity to be the prevailing reality of our existence, the Devil has insinuated his lies inside the truth of who and where we really are.
We are alive, and together in this. We are together in the World of Nature, into which we were born, and we are together in the human world that we create, conjointly with all others.
Let's not forget it!
Let's not be deceived!