Armored people see and think about the world in bits and pieces. No matter what subject they are studying, they are incapable of seeing the whole picture. They have been taught to view the world mechanistically, as if it were nothing but a machine that is made up of a number of replaceable parts. A manifestation of ocular armor, this distorted way of viewing things is endemic in every branch of science including sociology.
As an example, consider people’s view of the generalized deterioration in the quality of American life that began around 1960 and is accelerating at an increasing rate. Some people focus on the signs and symptoms of the deterioration such as the breakdown of the traditional family, the increase in teen age pregnancies, the degradation in acceptable forms of social behavior and so on. Others look at the reasons for the decline. Liberals focus on shifts in governmental policy and economic factors. Conservatives look at the decline in cultural values. These opposing views result in ideological conflicts between the left and the right. Things remain the same. Still others are not even aware that anything at all important is happening.
There is no comprehensive picture of the reasons for the destructiveness that is happening to our society. What still remains to be generally recognized and functionally understood are the biological determinants that govern social life. Around 1960, the structure of Western society was fundamentally transformed from authoritarian to anti-authoritarian. The anti-authoritarian society that we are currently living in was the result of the breakthrough of powerful impulses of sexual yearning of the younger generation which came through to the social surface with a destructive force. The reason that they surfaced in this way at this particular time was that these impulses could no longer be held back (repressed) because of the failure of the two opposing forces of social armor: on the one hand there was the increasing pressure behind the sexual urges of the younger generation and on the other there was the weakening of the repressive forces contained in the authoritarian social armor. This resulted in the so-called sexual revolution.
The anti-authoritarian transformation accounts for every one of the destructive social changes that we are currently witnessing. Now, all forms of authority, rational as well as irrational have been largely thrown overboard. Authority in general and parental authority in particular, are viewed by many with suspicion and hostility. Many of the younger generation today have no respect for their elders and reject learning anything that they and tradition have to offer. This includes being personally responsible for one’s life through the ability to earn a living. As a result, not only has the authoritarian family structure largely fallen apart but also what remained of their biological work function. (Just 48% of working-class whites in America were married in 2010 down from 84% in 1960).
With the breakdown of the authoritarian family and having no other authorities to blame for their problems, many children of the baby boomers who grew up in the 60s are unable to earn a living, and now depend on their families or on the government to care for them.
As in the case of medical diseases, only with a clear, functional understanding of the social disease can there be a true course of treatment.