With conditions of sophistication and power every society paradoxically develops a morbidity or malaise among its members that can best be described as lying in the range of meanings of anxiety, despair and dread. An intimation of the nature of this malaise can be seen in the critical periods of history when there has been a turning away from traditional values. One period is the modern 'Age of Anxiety', originating after the industrial revolution with the arrival of the culturally dominating sciences and technologies including Darwinism, which helped erode authoritarian Christianity. Modern angst, as Kierkegaard wrote, is an overwhelming of the individual by world knowledge.
By various approaches many writers about angst come to the same conclusion, that it is a condition of deprivation, a result of man having lost something. It is pain and suffering, as Buddha taught; it is also strife or separation, called Eris in Greek religion. Thus, although it is emotional, it nevertheless arises from a real condition. What is separated or lost from the self is described differently by various thinkers. Some believe it to be meaning; others, security; others, power; and others, soul.