From the always satisfying mind of David Brooks, a column about how we understand human nature. A paragraph to ponder (the shopping example stems from an earlier paragraph about theories of shopping that pinpoint its meaning in evolutionary psychology):
Individuals aren’t formed before they enter society. Individuals are created by social interaction. Our identities are formed by the particular rhythms of maternal attunement, by the shared webs of ideas, symbols and actions that vibrate through us second by second. Shopping isn’t merely a way to broadcast permanent, inborn traits. For some people, it’s also an activity of trying things on in the never-ending process of creating and discovering who they are.