Collective retreat from society, prologue


The term me decade was coined by novelist Tom Wolfe in New York magazine in August 1976, describing the new American preoccupation with self-awareness and the collective retreat from history, community, and human reciprocity. The term seemed to de-scribe the age so aptly that it quickly became commonly associated with the 1970s. Compared to the 1960s, Americans in the 1970s were self-absorbed and passive. Americans turned from street theater to self-therapy, from political activism to psychological analysis. Everyone, it seemed, had an analyst, adviser, guru, genie, prophet, priest, or spirit. In the 1970s the only way many Americans could relate to one another was as members of a national therapy group.

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