"The ethos of otherworldly worldly salvation through self-denial increasingly gave way to this-worldly self-fulfillment. Cultural anxiety followed upon this shift, which privileged a secular, progressive version of free will (a core tenet of Christianity). All manner ner of possibilities were annexed to this pivotal doctrine.' Unshackled from its religious context, free will broadened the possibilities for self-determination while simultaneously eroding restraint and self-control. Ultimately, however, this new expansiveness, which positioned self at center, offered no basis on which to orient choice or identity. The absence of any indication of what an individual should choose-or even aspire to, beyond satisfaction of individual needs and the avoidance of suffering-tainted this freedom, quickly leading to existential despair.'
Suffering, in this new paradigm, became aligned with the new significance accorded the self. No longer understood in terms of Christ's sacrifice, or as a test of faith, suffering was instead linked to desire. Desire-the needing, craving, ing, and wanting of objects or others that were no longer (or never had been) attainable-was not to be denied; nor was the suffering it caused to be borne. Rather, it was to be remediated-by letting go."
Laura Martocci. Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self (Kindle Locations 160-166). Kindle Edition.