From his 1952 essay "The Situation of the American Intellectual at the Present Time":
[W]hen you speak of your relation with your country and your culture, you are responding to a tone and a style in your compatriots, to their tempo of movement, the inflection of their voices, the look on their faces. You trust or you do not trust. You penetrate beneath the manner and the manners to the intention which the manner and manners stand for, you become aware of your compatriots' estimate of the future, of their relation to life and death. Sometimes, as you meditate upon yourself in your individuality, insisting upon that individuality for the moment or for an extended time, your fellow beings simply do not seem very real to you. They do not seem to exist sufficiently. You have lost the power to understand their intentions. Or, if you understand, you are repelled or frightened.