Abstract

The author maintains that contemporary neuroses can best be understood as grounded in the modern cleft between the self and its roles. In the absence of well-defined and strictly observed rituals and their accompanying ideologies, anxious young person s today are prone to fabricate their own myths of self-idealization in order to achieve a sense of self-worth and well-being. Not surprisingly, these youngsters tend to latch on to one of the different moral traditions embodied in Western culture. Karen H orney's three basic neurotic options--moving emotionally toward, against or away from others--can be seen to correspond, respectively, to the Judeo-Christian exultation of love and compassion, the Greco-Roman ethic of success and competition, and the West ern ideals of freedom and self-reliance. Thus, by focusing on the social structure of the self, the author is able to account for the contributions of moral traditions and social changes to contemporary neurotic processes.

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3303
Print ISSN
1071-6076
Pages
pp. 317-328
Launched on MUSE
1998-12-01
Open Access
No
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