In today’s liberal democracies we are brought up to realize our potential as autonomous individuals. It is hard to envisage a time when so many people have enjoyed comparable freedoms. Yet the very exercise of these freedoms in the service of greed, aggression, and fear has led to the breakdown of community, destruction of the environment, wasteful exploitation of resources, the perpetuation of tyrannies, injustices, and inequalities. Instead of creatively realizing their freedoms, many choose the unreflective conformism dictated by television, indulgence in mass-consumerism, or numbing their feelings of alienation and anguish with drugs. In theory, freedom may be held in high regard; in practice it is experienced as a dizzying loss of meaning and direction.
—"Buddhism without beliefs", Stephen Batchelor