Psychological Aspects of Modernity

Psychological Aspects of Modernity

Psychological Aspects of Modernity

Psychological Aspects of Modernity


Braun's work has a strong psychological focus on the ramifications of social change--with emphasis on modernization for meeting the psychological needs of the people involved. What is unique about the work (it represents the collaboration of seven scholars in such fields as philosophy, psychology, sociology, and political science) is that it makes a serious attempt to provide a realistic and relevant framework of analysis for interpreting the way the human personality reacts to strain and pressure, including cultural and social change. As societies become increasingly bureaucratic, anonymous, and materialistic, and social relationships become increasingly segmented rather than holistic, it is important to study how basic human needs are fulfilled and how personalities are molded.


The modern world is the fruit of progress, and the rise of systems of thought relating to a "postmodern" perspective basically reflects a disenchantment with the modern world, a loss of faith in progress. This is not totally new. the ancient world often thought in terms of a lost Golden Age, not of material wealth so much as of morality. Intellectual and cultural history is often a history of fads. Stabilization of a society's norms and social structures historically have often led to staleness, then to spurts of change that disillusion their creators, which then in turn leave them or their descendants hungering for the stability of the past once again.

Yet, though the stability of the past is sometimes romanticized, obviously there really are changes; the quality of human life really does change in different environments in qualitative, as well as quantitative, ways.

Part of the disenchantment of the world that modernity brings to human consciousness that eventually causes people to doubt the reality of progress is loss of a sense of the sacred, as well as loss of a sense of what is natural about nature, what standards arise out of nature as sacred, and what the background is against which all activities arise and to which they then return in the end, nature itself, as well as metaphysical realms even more fundamental. Humankind's control of nature has turned into a double-edged sword since we have lost our touchstones of value to a large extent, our knowledge of worthwhile goals, and our knowledge of the raw material of human nature in which to pursue these goals.

The analytic, as opposed to synthetic, biases of modern science have produced specialization in the human sciences that fosters, in analysis, tearing . . .

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