The profuse number of man-children and wounded women in a never-grow-old culture indicates something terribly socially amiss—on that, Jung and Peterson agree. Charmless slackers and baristas who seem so often to have grown up with absent fathers or in odd, blended families are liberated from tradition and canon but feckless and lonely. Neurotic efforts, said Jung, to extend youthful conquests and an endless horizon continue “beyond the bounds of all reason” into middle age and beyond. Conversely, the old, instead of pursuing “illumination of the self,” turn into hypochondriacs and adventurers.
The Swiss psychologist foresaw and lamented the West’s break with tradition and the loneliness of modernity.