" Mainstream America for me was too commercial, too aberrant to human nature and too quietly, smilingly desperate. That an entire society can be aberrant , and not just some of its members, isn't an observation that originated with me. From Nietzsche ("Too long has the world been a madhouse") to Erich Fromm (The Pathology of Normalcy), from Joyce ("History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken") to Paul Shepard (Nature and Madness) and Ken Kesey ( One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), and so many other thinkers and artists, it's a given.
How could I live from my real self, or even be aware of its existence, in such a distorting social environment? If you are living in or near a swamp and keep coming down with malaria and then one day you discover the cause to be all those millions of mosquitoes, it behooves you to move away to some healthier location. For me, city and suburb and even the mental life of academia were the dismal swamp and all their influences the malarial mosquitoes. These intuitions were operative in me long before I consciously realized it, long before I thought it through."