Because of rapid economic and political innovations, changes in the nature of the family, and the decline of religion, the individual or essential self is suffering a breakdown, such that incidental or fragmented selves are being created, namely combinations of belief and emotional involvement, each of which could readily be abandoned for another. This process is exacerbated by the movement towards a mass capitalistic society in which individual selves have little input into the collective, in contrast to tribal societies where there is a more balanced ratio between communicator and receiver. This development is associated with alienation, powerlessness, meaninglessness, social isolation and self-estrangement. It is to be expected that people will increasingly search for experiences which validate personal existence by permitting the individual to feel fulfilled or at least alive. These experiences will tend to include a range of forms of violence, sexual behaviour, substance abuse, criminality and terrorism.
On all sides, individuals in modern societies are increasingly exposed to division, tension and discord. Social structures which defy all rules of justice and harmony have an impact on various levels of the human psyche. Such surroundings – the division of society into classes, alienation from work and its fragmented nature, the artificial opposition between manual and intellectual labour, the crises of ideologies, the disintegration of accepted myths, the dichotomies between body and mind or material and spiritual values, the manner in which education functions and is distributed to adolescents, the training given to the young, and unavoidable mass information encourage dissociation of the elements of personality.