"In some evolving civilizations, for reasons which we don't entirely understand, the evolution of consciousness is attended by a disaster of some sort which occurs shortly after the Sy [symbolic] breakthrough. It has something to do with the discovery of the self and the incapacity to deal with it, the consciousness becoming self-conscious but not knowing what to do with the self, not even knowing what its self is, and so ending by being that which is not, and making others what they are not.
What does that mean?
Playing roles, being phony, lying, cheating, stealing, and killing."
- Walker Percy
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book