By way of an answer, I would point to the German socialist Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom. In brief, Fromm’s ideal state for persons in society is the pursuit of “the active and spontaneous realization of the individual self”; however, many people fall short of this ideal, and instead possess what Fromm calls an “authoritarian character structure.” Such people, when forced to confront an “alienated and hostile” world as they grow into adulthood, feel increasingly alone and powerless; this burden causes neurotic anxiety.