An Interview on
The Global Environment of Business:
New Paradigms for International Management
interview with Carlo Strenger
Carlo Strenger is Chair of the Clinical Graduate Program, Department of Psychology at Tel Aviv University. He serves on the Permanent Monitoring Panel on Terrorism of the World Federation of Scientists, the Seminar of Existential Psychoanalysis in Zurich, and the Scientific Board of the Sigmund Freud Foundation, Vienna in addition to maintaining a part-time practice in existential psychoanalysis.
Strenger's research focuses on the impact of Globalization on Identity and Meaning. His latest book is, The Fear of Insignificance: Searching for Meaning in the Twenty-first Century
His work has been reported on, and he has been interviewed by among others, in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Time Magazine as well as hundreds of newspapers and websites in more than twenty languages.
He blogs on the Huffington Post, regularly writes in Haaretz, both for the print edition and on his blog, `Strenger than Fiction', Britain's The Guardian, and The New York Times
For more info see his website at http:/freud.tau.ac.il/~strenger/
Dr. Strenger, why did you start studying the Phenomenon that you call "Fear of Insignificance"?
In the late 1990s, I began to notice that my clients became ever more concerned whether they were leading lives of significance, and there were ever more reports in the research literature on a rise of depression and anxiety. I was wondering why this was happening, particularly because many of my clients led interesting and rewarding lives: many of them were high achievers, some of them are celebrities. Nevertheless, they were anxious that they weren't doing well enough; that they were not leading meaningful lives. I presented preliminary results in my previous book, The Designed Self (2004), but felt that a more interdisciplinary approach was needed to fully understand the phenomenon.
How is today's fear of insignificance expressed?
I think we live in a time in which people live under strong pressure to live spectacular lives. You see, people who are doing quite well: executives, lawyers, physicians, who feel that they are missing out something. Many of them feel their lives are grey; they feel they are not getting enough out of life.
They feel they need to do extraordinary things, primarily in their careers, but also in their private lives. They feel that they need to participate in extreme sports, amass lot of experiences, as otherwise their lives are devoid of insignificance. They keep comparing their lives to the spectacular success stories of global celebrities _ and they often feel that in comparison, their lives are not of significance.