The Emotional Climate of Our Times [article]

Harry Estill Moore
THE EMOTIONAL CLIMATE OF OUR TIMES MAN IS BESET with cmotional problems and social decisions which have their origin in the complexity of a world bound only by the infinite. Human uncertainty and social anxiety do not arise from the disintegration and deterioration of society but from the constantly increasing breadth of horizons on all fronts which leave us without orientation from the past. Man knows more; therefore, he is faced with more problems. Where the world of our grandfathers was
more » ... ed largely by the family and the village, today planetary space is our outward reach. Security given the nation by 3000 miles of open water has been replaced by the insecurity of knowledge that an intercontinental missile requires less than three hours to deliver in one blast more devastation than all the bombs dropped by all the planes in World War II. We are faced with something of the same sort of expansion which came to Medieval Europe with the discovery of the New World. Reaction in both cases has been highly emotional in content. Security in this country previously rested not only on geographic distance but upon the ascendency of our technological knowledge over that of the rest of the world. Now that other nations are achieving more "leads" than "lags" in their scientific development, our behef in our superiority seems to be shattering. This may well be called the Era of the Great Doubt, often accompanied by the Great Fear. Change and dynamics are the catchwords as well as the watchwords of the day. These are, at one and the same time, words which indicate the achievements of our era and the problems of our lives. Our multiple satellites, our inter-continental missiles, our jet planes, our automobiles and boats, our refrigerators and washing machines, and even our air-conditioners, all have the "forward look" of motion, with man only slightly in the foreground. In 1857 a contributor to the Atlantic Monthly wrote, "The world has advanced from a speed of five miles to twenty or more." He was talking about railroads. Now man has propelled new worlds into outer space, and has invented ways
doi:10.15781/t2vd6pr7r fatcat:tmmrsnmfsfaf7pccsqcvb5y2sm