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The director of Harvard's Psychiatric Services said in an article in yesterday's Herald Traveller that today's "adolescent rebellion" is characterized by "self-destructive behavior."
Dr. Graham B. Blaine Jr. '40, chief of Psychiatric Services, said that, "For far too many, adolescent rebellion... instead of a detour before achieving maturity, too often becomes a one way street to misery and unhappiness."
Blaine attributed much of student unrest to the lack of challenge in our affluent society. He said that in order to create challenges, students take unnecessary risks. "Fast driving and irresponsible sexual behavior are... risk-taking activities engaged in by young people deprived of challenges presented to young people of other generations."
Students "force our attention upon them by their bizarre and at times violent behavior," he said. "Growing beards and long hair... symbolizes contempt for what is felt to be the hypocrisy of making oneself unnaturally pretty by means of shaving and haircuts- these, of course, being only small surface manifestations of a deep-seated contempt for the hypocrisy they believe is present in the business and political world of the well-groomed adult," he said.
Blaine also blamed a permissive attitude by parents which has spawned a desire on the part of students for "immediate gratification of their sexual wants, demanding from drugs an instant and constant happiness."
Another factor causing student unrest. Blaine said, is the change in the composition of college student bodies. Fifty-five per cent of high school students go to college today, compared to the ten per
cent who did 15 years ago, he said. According to Blaine, a smaller percentage of students are intellectually curious today, but colleges have not adapted to this change.
Blaine concluded, however, that "The older generation must realize the tremendous value inherent in the idealism of today's young and give them credit for this. As always, youth serves an important function when it startles us out of complacency and stirs us to view the world from their new perspective out of which we may choose to act toward a healthy change."
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