“The writing of fiction depends upon the idea that individuals’ emotional, inner lives, not just their actions, are important for their own sake. This is not an idea which has currency in all places and times; it is contingent on particular social conditions. Anglo-Saxon literature reflects a society in which the individual was subordinated to more important ideals, in both practical and abstract ways: the warrior in the shield-wall, who gives his life in the service of his lord and the defence of his people; the martyr’s self-sacrifice for his faith, or the saint’s self-denial for his; the hero’s selfless bravery against the monstrous incursions which threaten his lord’s hall. In Old English poetry, to be an individual, cut off from these collective bonds, is to be lost.”
That seems like as good an explanation (or better) as any I’ve seen to explain how lost we all seem to be today… Is there a way to recapture that without having to subordinate ourselves to a king, whether earthly or heavenly?