Growing Up in a Nuclear Age

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
  • Joan Offerman-Zuckerberg


Is nuclear age anxiety an anachronistic concept, given this temporarily warmer global climate?* I do not think so. As a psychoanalyst, I understand the painstakingly slow pace by which real change takes place. Political lip service can be given to disclosure and sharing, to verifiability and mutuality, but genuine trust must have time to grow. It is just the beginning and we need to resist being seduced into a premature feeling of complacency and cooperation. Since the advent of nuclear weapons, tribal mentality has not changed significantly. The creation of nuclear arms has transformed our potential for destruction from village, state, and country to the world. However, we remain tribal in our instincts, anxiously paranoid in our thinking, readily given to projection, splitting into good and bad, chronically dependent on externalization processes such as “it’s the enemy out there.” Though nuclear age anxiety is not necessarily easy to articulate, nevertheless, it is a constant piece of our socio-cultural climate, and in that sense permeates, albeit insidiously, our consciousness (see Escalona, 1982; Mack, 1982). To ignore annihilation anxiety is to deny a psychological fact, a given of the twentieth-twenty-first century.


Human Race Holocaust Survivor Nuclear Threat Intelligent Species Survival Instinct 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Offerman-Zuckerberg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychoanalytic Society of the Postdoctoral Program, Inc.New YorkUSA
  2. 2.Brooklyn Institute for Psychotherapy and PsychoanalysisBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.Yeshiva University Clinical Program and National Institute for the PsychotherapiesNew YorkUSA

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