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Wenkart, A. (1968). Anomie or New Order. Am. J. Psychoanal., 28(2):196-200.

(1968). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 28(2):196-200

Anomie or New Order

Antonia Wenkart, M.D.

Youth Seems to be indifferent to just about everything—everything, that is, except physical sensations. Perhaps it is a feeling they have that life has lost its meaning. Whatever the reason, the indifference is sharply apparent in the breakdown of communications among the young people themselves. With all their side-of-the-mouth mutterings and barnyard noisemaking, it is a wonder that any messages get across at all.

It is said that youth is engaged in rebellion to overcome helplessness and apathy. Although the desired goal is freedom, personal or group freedom is acquired at the cost of general or universal order. Great upheavals in social, religious or political spheres arise out of dissatisfaction with some issue. Individuals or groups of persons have always fought for some change in political regime, improvement of social conditions, and various and sundry reforms. Yet in retrospect the world was a good place to live in, or perhaps it only seemed so because we ourselves were young then.

Nowadays, essential questions pertaining to freedom—Freedom from what? Freedom to do what?—have been tossed aside. Rebellion for the sake of rebellion seems to be the order of the day. Public riots have always appealed to bystanders who join in any outbreak in order to be able to act out. Where language fails to express the crucial sentiment, acting out is used as the vehicle of communication.

Roots, family matters, religion, politics, have all been taken out of the private realm of intimate concern.

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