Alienation In The Life Of
Diplomate, American Board
of Psychiatry and Neurology
To write about the
of alienation the poet feels in
this culture of polarized hatreds is a way of staying sane.
...there is no alienation
that a little
power will not cure.
only one way left to escape
the alienation of present day society:
to retreat ahead of it.
|Alienation, the feeling
of being a stranger or not belonging to the community,
results from an inability to express one's self honestly. In
close relationships of family, school, and friends, alienation destroys
Adolescents are the most frequent victims of
these feelings of estrangement. The alienated teenager
has been a familiar cultural icon since James Dean's movies of the
The alienation often associated with the
adolescent's quest for identity commonly involves a distrust
of adults, a rejection of adult values, and a pessimistic worldview.
Estranged adolescents feel that they have little control over the
events that shape their seemingly meaningless lives. They tend to
feel isolated from adults, their peer group, and even themselves.
The wave of school shootings by teenagers in
the US - there have been at least seven such incidents in
the past 15 months - is a symptom of a deep social disorder. An
ever-growing number of politicians and other officials have been forced
to acknowledge the true depth of the problem.
In response to the Springfield killings, John Kitzhaber
- the Governor of Oregon -
commented, "All of us should look at how we have failed as a society and
how this could happen in the heart of Oregon. It has been a
priority to build prison cells and prison beds--after the fact.
These actions in no way prevent juvenile violence."
|Unless such tragedies
are viewed as the outcome of a
complex interaction between social life and individual
psychology, no headway will be made in grasping the essence of these
events. Human beings are the products, in the broadest sense, of
their social relations.
Alienation is produced in the
classroom, when the administration
determines the curriculum and the mode of learning. Students
are expected to conform and to listen, but neither their voices, nor
more importantly their feelings, are heard. By the time the
student becomes an adolescent, he has often developed a deep distrust of
other people and their motives, and has lost touch with his sense of
Unfortunately, most politicians have yet to
grasp the intimate connection between public education and
the high incidence of mental illness in our society.
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