The first paragraph of the first chapter - the opening thoughts - in Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz, published in 1985.
All of us, at some moment, have had a vision of our existence as something unique, untransferable, and very precious. This revelation almost always takes place during adolescence. Self-discovery is above all the realization that we are alone: it is the opening of an impalpable, transparent wall - that of our consciousness - between the world and ourselves. It is true that we sense our aloneness almost as soon as we are born, but children and adults can transcend their solitude and forget themselves in games or work. The adolescent, however, vacillates between infancy and youth, halting for a moment before the infinite richness of the world. He is astonished at the fact of his being, and this astonishment leads to reflection: as he leans over the river of his consciousness, he asks himself if the face that appears there, disfigured by the water, is his own. The singularity of his being, which is pure sensation in children, becomes a problem and a question.
The first sentence of the second paragraph:
Much the same thing happens to nations and peoples at a certain critical moment in their development…
Octavio Paz speaks through the vision of human beings living and growing into the obligations we have to each other. This knows no slick political label or catch phrase by which to bludgeon into compliance. The latter is a weaponization playbook of a yet to develop personality and character sketched by the first paragraph. The conditions we are facing are characteristic of a pre-adolescent individual AND nation at a critical crossroads oblivious of a locomotive loaded with consequences barrelling down the tracks. This pre-adolescence is at the stage of still trying to figure out what where to turn and who to include in seeking wisdom.