PAST VS MODERN : return back to home

As we understand the definition of the Age of Anxiety, let's decide whether the Age of Anxiety occurred before is same to the one that "is" occurring now.


1. Scientific Questions

-Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein-
Albert Einstein What Are You Thinking?
Theory of Relativity?

Theory of Relativity was one of the major scientific breakthroughs that mankind has discovered. Theory of Relativity was discovered by the famous Albert Einstein. This theory was divided into two sub-parts:
  1. Special Theory of Relativity
    • It was about how Einstein answered whether rest and motion are relative or absolute, and also the consequences of Einstein's hypothesis if they are relative.
  2. General Theory of Relativity
    • This part was about Einstein's changes to Newton's theory, and explains how objects continue to move in a straight line in space-time
("Theory Of Relativity." Science - 31 May 2009 <>.)
So how does Theory of Relativity affect and make the Age of Anxiety? The Theory of Relativity proved that Isaac Newton was wrong about how the world that operated exactly on the absolute laws of motion and gravity. This gave people a sense of discomfort, because the world (BEFORE) thought everything moved in order and there cannot be no change in the absolute laws of motion and gravity. However, the theory of relativity proposed that "space and time can change when measured relative to an object moving at a speed of light", so people were confused about what Newton proposed about a comfortable belief in where things are absolute and the laws of motion apply.
(Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 415)
-The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud-
Sigmund Freud & Dreams
The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud was also one of the profound breakthroughs in science. Being in a field of psychology, Sigmund Freud tried to analyze what dreams meant in the world. Sigmund Freud was an Austrian physician and he treated patients mostly with psychological problems. In his Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud stated that:
(Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 415)

"Dreams are not comparable to the spontaneous sounds made by a musical instrument struck rather by some external force than by the hand of a performer; they are not meaningless, not absurd, they do not imply that one portion of our stockpile of ideas sleeps while another begins to awaken. They are a completely valid psychological phenomenon, specifically the fulfillment of wishes; they can be classified in the continuity of comprehensible waking mental states; they are constructed through highly complicated intellectual activity."
("Sigmund Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams." Washington State University - Pullman, Washington . 31 May 2009 <>.)

However what does he mean simply? What it all means is that dreams are very significant and it shows the "wishes" of the people. Freud's philosophy contributed loads in the Age of Anxiety that occurred in the past. Sigmund has stated in the Interpretation of Dreams about the ideas of the unconscious. He also stated how the human behavior is just beyond reason and irrational. As his ideas spread globally, people started to lose faith in reason--leading into an Age of Anxiety in terms of psychology.
(Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 415)
A Cartoon depicting Freud's Philosophy:
Freud's Interpretation on Dreams

2. Chaos in Philosophy/Literature/Arts

-Chaotic Philosophy: Existentialism-
"God is dead"

So how does philosophy play a role in the Age of Anxiety? During this era, there were many philosophers trying to still discover the true purpose of life. However due to an OVERCOMING anxiety, it seemed to affect the philosophers also. Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, was one of the main leaders and people who lead the idea of existentialism. Existentialism itself is a hard philosophy to understand, but what it is is that people try to find their purpose of existence and who they are through free will, choice, and their own responsibility. Most existentialists believed there was no true meaning of life, and that each person finds their meaning of life through living. (Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 416) ("Existentialism." Philosophy - 31 May 2009 <>.) (of, ” our manner. "Existentialism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 31 May 2009 <>.)

"God is dead" - Friedrich Nietzsche (Instead, so many theists., and he's talking about what this god represented for European. "God is Dead: Killing God." Agnosticism / Atheism - Free Inquiry, Skepticism, Atheism, Religious Philosophy. 31 May 2009 <>.)

This quote might have been one of the famous quotes spoken by philosophers. It exactly shows what Nietzsche thought of the world. Nietzsche tried to question the church's authority, and in the end he influenced many people if the church was right or wrong. Many people in the world put emphasis in the belief of Christianity, but as Nietzsche tried to spread that there is no universal meaning of life (in Christianity, being a Christian and going to heaven to meet God). He tried to question them by saying "God is dead", and exactly showing the Age of Anxiety. As soon as existentialists spread the idea that there is no universal meaning of life, it made people question about what is the true meaning of life for themselves and it also made people lose faith and order in the world--as a true meaning of life has been destroyed. (Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 416)

This is one of the scenes from "When Nietzsche Wept". It is one of the parts of The Gay Science that Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, and this will give you a better understanding why existentialist believe in that there is no ACTUAL purpose of life
(If need help, the one with the orange mustache is Nietzsche, and click the video to see what it is written in the Gay Science by seeing the description :D)

-Writings Affected By War-

Writers That Were Affected By The War
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka, a Czech-born author, is a famous writer having written: The Trial, The Castle, and The Metamorphosis. But how does this author relate to the Age of Anxiety? One of the causes of The Age of Anxiety would be the aftermath of World War I. World War I had various devastating effects that, in the end, affected writers even. Franz Kafka was one of those writers that were affected greatly and wrote various horrid stories. He wrote stories mostly based on people living in life-threatening situations which the characters cannot understand or run away. The Metamorphosis is a great example for one of the stories he wrote in which a man named Gregor Samsa turns into a bug and his whole life changed completely negatively. (Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 416)

Some novels and writings expressed Freud's theories on dreams. One of the authors that expressed these ideals was James Joyce, an Irish-born author. He has written a book called Ulysses, which made an important impact on people with having a different style of writing. Joyce, in this book, changed the normal sentence structure, writings, and vocabulary to reflect the chaotic and nervous human mind. (Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 416)

"We think of what has disappeared, we are almost destroyed by what has been destroyed; we do not know what will be born, and we fear the future, not without reason. We hope vaguely, we dread precisely; our fears are infinitely more precise than our hopes; we confess that the charm of life is behind us, abundance is behind us, but doubt and disorder are in us and with us. There is no thinking man, however shrewd or learned he may be, who can hope to dominate this anxiety, to escape from this impression of darkness, to measure the probable duration of this period when the virtual relations of humanity are disturbed profoundly." - Paul Valery ( 8. war, the. "Modern History Sourcebook: Valery: WWI & European Civilization ." FORDHAM.EDU. 31 May 2009 <>.)

Valery has stated to us that "the virtual relations of humanity are disturbed profoundly", which clearly shows that the Age of Anxiety affected literature greatly in negative ways. The Age of Anxiety has affected literature in a negative and also reflected philosophical views of the world.

-Surreal Paintings?-
Surrealism? Salvador Dali?

surrealism- n. a 20th century avant-garde movement in art and literature that sought to release the creative potential of the conscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images.

The Age of Anxiety was also encroaching in the arts. People during this era rebelled against the earlier style of paintings and they wanted to try and paint inner emotions of human beings and imagination rather than realistic impressions of objects. Then later the Dada movement established as a protest of an art movement. What the Dada movement represented was the values that had been created due to the aftermath of World War I. Surrealism was also an important factor of how art affected the world during The Age of Anxiety. Also not including art, but other genres as well such as architecture and music. In architecture, new forms of buildings were created while old building structures are used. In music, people tried to work on new music; a music that used irregular rhythms and harsh combination of sounds. Some of these music include, 'The Rite of Spring' and the famous American jazz. (Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 417)

These are some pictures that were dominant during the Age of Anxiety:
These are some architecture that were dominant during the Age of Anxiety:
These are some music (videos) that were dominant during the Age of Anxiety.

In conclusion, the Age of Anxiety has affected arts differently than the other events above. It was not positive nor negative, but actually it was a change of arts. Surrealism and the Dada movement combined helped change arts: painters, music, and architecture; in a different style from before. The nervousness, anxiety, Freud's interpretation on dreams, etc: all help affect music into a different pattern, therefore called the "Age of Anxiety"

3. The Great Depression

The Great Depression

Effects of Great Depression
The Great Depression was one of the highlights of the Age of Anxiety. As we all know, the economic depression that occurred during 1929-1935 had a disastrous effect on mankind. As the United States economy declined, the whole world had to also fall (due to the fact that the United States had helped other countries' economy & many other countries rely on the United States for trade). In the United States, around 9 million people lost their money in their savings account and one-fourth of the Americans were unemployed. In the world, it was devastated in the way how world trade dropped by 65%, a massive increase in unemployment rates, Austria's largest bank failed, in Japan 3 million workers lost their jobs, in Latin America prices for good declined greatly, etc. Due to these effects of unemployment and poverty, it was obvious people were in a state of panic and uncertainty. (Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 424, 425)

This video shows some of the effects of the Great Depression.
(I apologize for no sound since this was taken from YouTube. It has stated that the WMV has been not allowed, but however there are words to describe the effects, so please pay attention on the words!)

Overall, the Great Depression helped contribute in the cause of the Age of Anxiety. Due to the horrid effects of this event such as poverty and unemployment, it led to people panicking and worrying about how they will survive--which is the exact definition of the Age of Anxiety. An age where people's hearts are unrested and in this case due to the Great Depression, people's hearts were panicking.

4. Fascism/Political Disputes

-Mussolini and Italy-
During the time of the Age of Anxiety, people questioned whether democracy was ever possible and if so would it ever be achieved. We could see one failure of democracy tried out by the Weimar Republic in Germany. The democracy was demolished later and fascism flourished throughout the country. However, what caused this fascism to flow into the country? The Age of Anxiety. If we take a close look at Italy during the time, we could see that there was a rising inflation and unemployment going around. Also the Italians were disappointed over the failure to win large territories at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The people's hearts were NOT in REST, and they could not further trust in the government anymore, that's why they needed a leader. (Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 427, 428)

The leader was Mussolini, and with his propaganda he promised that he'll restore Italy to how it should be. Stating quotes such as, "back to her ways of ancient greatness", to convince men hearts; ("Hitler and Musolini ." Google. 31 May 2009 <>.) Mussolini was thought to be a great leader. At first when Mussolini started, he didn't gain a lot of votes from the public. But as Italy's economy declined, the citizens of Italy favored towards Mussolini and later became the fascist leader of Italy. (Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 427, 428) ("Benito Mussolini." World History: The Modern Era. 2009. ABC-CLIO. 31 May 2009 <>.)

We could see how much anxiety could cause an effect to the government itself. Fascism was also one of the effects of anxiety, as people wanted a strong and straightforward leader--but in the end their choices were wrong. Since people's hearts were UNRESTED due to the Great Depression, philosophical ideas, etc: it led to the government also being corrupt in ways of fascism.

-Hitler and Germany-
Fascism? Age of Anxiety?
Hitler is another case to study how the Age of Anxiety affected the world politically and caused people to be worried. Germany was also in a similar situation with Italy. Germany was going through a major financial crisis which included from a hyperinflation to high unemployment rates. During these mists of troubles, (just like Mussolini) Hitler appeared and with great propaganda, he had tried to convince the public about restoring back Germany and taking revenge on the ones that must be avenged (Jews, League of Nations (mostly pertaining to Great Britain and France), etc.). His writing, Mein Kampf, also influenced many people about his views which is what exactly Germany needed. (Beck, Roger B.. Modern World History Patterns of Interaction California Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. pg. 428, 429)

In the end, Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany which further led him into a fascist leader of Germany. (Brooman, Josh. Weimar Germany: Germany 1918-33 (20th Century History). Edinburgh: Longman Group United Kingdom, 1985.) Again with Italy's case, due to people's anxiety and worries about how their countries will restore again--they've chosen leaders carelessly. The anxiety has spread to them and led them into choosing a decision that was unsure, but bound to be bad. Germany and Italy are two cases in which fascism flourished, and it was all due to the Age of Anxiety that people were living in. The UNRESTED hearts of men has AGAIN led fascism in Germany.


These are the events that are occurring worldwide, that relates to the past Age of Anxiety and the recent one, if there is:

1. Weapons of Mass Destruction


Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are both mankind's greatest scientific fault and achievement. For basic information there are four major types of WMD: biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear. Biological WMD are when biological and chemical agents are released into the air to contaminate different resources such as food and water. Biological and chemical WMD could have a devastating effect on mankind as they can bring up an epidemic on the world or even affect the health of human beings greatly. Radiological WMD are weapons to expose radiation to the public. Nuclear WMD are devastating bombs that could wipe out a large area and leave a horrid effect on that area. Both radiological and nuclear WMD could have a long-term impact on the environment and also cause serious health issues amongst people who are exposed. ("weapons of mass destruction." World History: The Modern Era. 2009. ABC-CLIO. 31 May 2009 <>.)

So why are these WMD related to the topic of "Theory of Relativity" or even "Interpretation of Dreams"? The point is that these WMD keep people worried about daily lives. These WMD bring people fear and a feeling of anxiousness, which exactly what the Theory of Relativity and the Interpretation of Dreams gave the people during the Age of Anxiety. If we relate these two topics together, we could easily see how WMD brings a sense of "insecurity" amongst the people just like The Theory of Relativity in which it gave people "insecurity" about gravity and motion. Also many nations threaten each other with these WMD so that they can receive what they want. However these symptoms of threatening are only caused by anxiety due to the fear of their nation falling. An example would be the recent North Korean missile launch that failed. North Korea wanted "attention" from different nations since they were so desperate in solving their domestic issues such as poverty, even though they do not want to admit it. (Gore., the former vice-president Al. " North Korean missile is challenge to Obama - Times Online ." Times Online | News and Views from The Times and Sunday Times . 31 May 2009 <>.)

So in the end science before and now relates together in the way they both don't give a sense of insecurity and gives people's hearts UNREST.

2. Changes in Society (Racism, Music, Art)

-Racism & Age of Anxiety?-
Racism. Bad. Bad. Bad.
say NO to racism

racism- n. belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities to speak that race, esp. so as to distinguish as inferior or superior to another race or races

Racism is an ongoing event that has been going on for centuries that has brought devastating effects starting from: slavery to deaths of some people. The targets are mostly the minority and the victims of this issue live in constant fear and unrest as they have been hurt psychologically and physically due to racism. A news article has stated "living in cities with high levels of racial segregation is linked to higher death rates for whites as well as Blacks, according to a study in the current issue of Sociological Forum." ("Deadly effects of racism: segregated cities mean higher death rates." University of Michigan. 31 May 2009 <>.) This quote shows that racial segregation or racism has affected the world in physically hurting (death) and also giving a sense of a pessimistic view of the world. Further research has stated that since racism causes stress to increase, it leads to suicides (psychological) and other worsening health conditions. ("THE EFFECTS OF RACISM-RELATED STRESS ON THE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL WELL-BEING OF NON-WHITES." Google. 31 May 2009 <>.)

So how is racism directly related to the social factors in the Age of Anxiety? If we look at the bigger picture again of the definition of the Age of Anxiety it is a period of time where men's hearts are unrested and how the world is viewed pessimistically. Racism affects the victim psychologically and physically showing that men's hearts are unrested. Racism brings fears amongst the victims showing an anxiety side of the issue. Also due to racism, the world is viewed pessimistically as we have great prejudice amongst our same human kind. So it is quite obvious that racism has direct relations with the Age of Anxiety.

-Music Genres and Art-
Haha. Bach.

Everyday art and music are created and they are changed every second. When we look at the majority part we could see that the similar effects that the Age of Anxiety had affected the arts. Music and arts in the Age of Anxiety tried to show and produce new works of art that have never been produced. In the Age of Anxiety it was surrealism and the Dada movement that was responsible for this. However in our modern era, we see that instead of those changes in rhythm and dynamics, we see modern pop and dance music and its' evolution. Also these music sometimes are very random such as having changes in rhythm or showing great changes in dynamics. In art sense, the idea of surrealism was quite repeated as "Abstract Expressionism". Abstract Expressionism was in the way how "Abstract, with an emphasis on the artist expressing everything from personal feelings to universal, spiritual concerns.", in one website resource. ("Movements in Twentieth-Century Art After World War II." Daphne - A Palomar College Web Server. 31 May 2009 <>.) This is very similar to surrealism in the way that they emphasized change and especially in expressing their inner feelings and what the human mind is like.

Some artwork of the Abstract Expressionism include:
Some music from our era include:
Love Story - Taylor Swift (A combination of country music and pop rock)

Skyway Avenue - We the Kings (A combination of rock and pop otherwise known as pop rock)

So how is these changes in music and art or similarities make the modern era look like the Age of Anxiety? If we compare and contrast the music and art changes that occurred between these two time periods, we could see great similarities. In art we see the similarities of Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism in the way they try to express the human mind. In music we see that they both try to try out new things and new techniques in ways (The old era, music tried to be faster; in the new era music is being diversified).

3. Global Recession

A Global Recession...
We Do Not Want To See This Again

This topic seems very self-explanatory to me and probably you. What I am trying to relate is that a global recession occurring right now is same as the Great Depression that was present after World War I. We humans try to not make mistakes and not to repeat another one, but there is a probability that this global recession will come instead of an economic depression. Global recession occurred due to an over-selling of stocks (again) and how the banks could not control their loans to the people. If the banks had controlled their loans, the global recession wouldn't have occurred but here it is now! ("BBC NEWS | Business | Timeline: Credit crunch to downturn." BBC NEWS | News Front Page. 31 May 2009 <>.) The effects of the global recession is very self-explanatory. It is definitely similar to the economic depression that occurred before which are: unemployment, high exchange-currency rates, world trade declination, etc. (Nagpal, N., economist, and category author. 2008.. "Effects of Recession." A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety 31 May 2009 <>.)

It is obvious with these effects that people's hearts will be UNRESTED again and in panic. So economically, the Age of Anxiety is definitely repeating again.

4. Questioning Democracy or the Government


Before I start attacking the democracy of the world and proving why politically this era is called the Age of Anxiety, let's first define what democracy means.

democracy- n. a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible of a state, typically through elected representatives (Dashboard Dictionary)

As an old saying "Money is the root of all evil", democracy is corrupted with money. Especially in an capitalist government, with more money, more greed. However that does not exclude other democratic nations, because in Indonesia (a bureaucratic nation) is one of the top number for political corruption. But how come democracy is corrupted when democracy is for the good of the people? (Kelley, David. "The Corruption of Democracy." The Atlas Society. 31 May 2009 <>.) To explain, first of all the problem with corruption in democracy is that government jobs are low paying jobs. Since people always want MONEY, they are seduced to corruption. Then these governmental officials are not caught easily, especially nations that are just starting to have professional police forces. However these police forces can be corrupted by the governmental officials, because the governmental officials can pay them money to hide for their actions. Last of all there is a light penalty to the corruption in democracy. An example would be at Japan where corrupt officials have been caught but were not penalized greatly for it. ("Corruption and Democracy (Part 4 of 5)." ASAHIネット. 31 May 2009 <>. )

The desperate need for money for these corrupt government officials clearly show the Age of Anxiety. WE all thought or assumed that probably democracy is the least corrupt government style in the world, but we were wrong. Corruption in the government is similar to having fascism in a government, because they both are doing an unacceptable acts. Fascism is using dictatorship and was caused by the anxiety of the citizens voting them. However corruption in democracy is caused by the governmental officials anxious and nervous to get more money. Again as the quote says, "Money is the root of all evil", therefore the corruption in democracy proves that the Age of Anxiety has spread to even the political factors.

So is the Age of Anxiety Re-Occurring?