The hypothesis is that the absence of meaning in life presents problems of motivation, daily function, and overall maintenance of mood. To an extent, the concept of existential psychoanalysis is a response to this phenomenon, an avant-garde recognition that the pervasive anomie of modern times (I use this term in the classic sense of a collapse of social structures governing life in a given society, with full credit to Emile Durkheim; I mean, mais non) has not been credited to the source where credit is due. An expanding chasm divides our philosophical thinking from the demands of modern life; our belated recognition of the origin of the ensuing crisis is perhaps attributable to Hot Trends in Absurdist Thinking: it was only recently that Meaninglessness went Mainstream.
The late-stage and decadent manifestation, or modern prototype, of the Soothing Wall was the New Age Movement, which borrowed many of the trappings and assumptions of old style religion (souls, spirits, karmic principles) while slyly avoiding contextual questions. It was the context of Old Time Religion which was vaguely embarrassing to New Age adherents, namely, the belief systems described in the Bible, Torah, or Koran, Sunday services, the quasi-psychotic practice of talking out loud to an unseen presence (prayer), but also including the huge capital investment in the mythology industry, running a varied gamut from the Vatican to the cathedral at Chartres to the simplest whitewashed and steepled Baptist Church in Pascagoula. Then, too, the sheer malevolent power of irrational, mythological thinking is deeply troubling to those who want to carry on religion under a different disguise and for gentler, pro-human purposes, who seek to dissociate themselves from the Crusades, or crucifixions, or large office buildings collapsing in a cloud of dust in lower
Then turning the small café table on Dr. Phil, Sartre might, in this strange revenge fantasy, point out, dialectically and with great penetration, that Dr. Phil’s manic desire to get everyone to live like one Texas cornball possessed by narcissistic certainties was itself an extraordinarily elaborate defense mechanism against deep-seated feelings of inadequacy and pending mortality, but that it ultimately would not work, neither against Death nor against the virtually certain cancellation of McGraw’s syndicated talk show. With this, Sartre, with an elaborate formality thinly disguising the hauteur and arrogance just beneath the surface, would have resumed reading Le Monde.