A Jungian Analysis of Toxic Modern Society: Fighting the Culture of Loneliness

By Erik Goodwyn

Using evidence from anthropology, neuroscience, psychiatry, analytical psychology and evolutionary biology, within this book Dr Erik Goodwyn explores the current cultural psyche, and how elements of modern society are contributing to the current loneliness epidemic.

Despite tremendous advances in technology, developed countries are more anxious, depressed, suicidal and addicted today than we were one hundred years ago. Why? Research from many fields of study show that loneliness has become an epidemic in the industrialized world, causing very real medical consequences such as addiction, depression, anxiety and suicide: all things which have been on the rise for decades. And yet, because of various historical, philosophical, and economic reasons, we do not nurture traditional cultural ways of satisfying these instincts. This book will explore the idea that stopping the rising misery will not only require socioeconomic changes, but will require a profound cultural change. Only then will we be able to stop the slow starvation of social belonging, archetypal narratives, rituals, spirituality, and images as vessels of meaning.

This will be an insightful read for depth psychologists and scholars of analytical psychology, as well as health care providers, therapists, sociologists, and those with an interest in cross-cultural studies.


This evocative and wide-ranging study of loneliness, Dr Goodwyn’s multifaceted exploration into the feelings of loneliness that affect our mental health and well-being is a much-needed and heartfelt enquiry.
–Dr Elizabeth Brodersen, Accredited Training Analyst and Supervisor, C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich, and editor of Jungian dimensions of the mourning process, burial rituals and access to the land of the dead, Intimations of Immorality, Routledge 2023.

“What stands out is the book’s underlying message of hope: he provides not just a diagnosis but also a compelling roadmap for the restoration of our social and spiritual soil fed by the treasures of our depths and transcendence. The seeds of the soul that sprout in this soil blossom into flowers and fruits of meaning and purpose. This is a timely, relevant and an essential prescription for our times and a must read for seekers and scholars alike.”
–Ashok Bedi, M.D., Psychiatrist and a Jungian analyst. Author; Path to the Soul and other works at www.pathtotheosoul.com

“Rethinking the machinations of Western medicine and capitalistic incentives that keep us enslaved in hegemonic power systems dominated by reductive ideologies, Goodwyn implores us to nurture the sociocultural dimensions of mental health aimed to remedy our malaise from the toxicity of our alienating environments. We have all but ignored our social craving for belonging eclipsed by digital realities and pseudo-cultural mass media that reinforce the pain of aloneness underlying our collective pathos. This book attempts to reorient us to actualize our craving for authentic relationality as social beings in search of soul. An important treatise on reintroducing the humanization of psychiatry in our age of the brain.
–Prof. Jon Mills, University of Essex; author of End of the World: Civilization and Its Fate