It is this rupture in the traditional religious sensibilities that underlies much of the transformation of contemporary Orthodoxy. Zealous to continue traditional Judaism unimpaired, religious Jews seek to ground their new emerging spirituality less on a now unattainable intimacy with Him, than on an intimacy with His Will, avidly eliciting Its intricate demands and saturating their daily lives with Its exactions. Having lost the touch of His presence, they seek now solace in the pressure of His yoke.
Although he couldn't have known it (as the sefer had not yet been published at the time of the writing of the article), this same theory was suggested close to 300 years ago by R' Yair Chaim Bachrach in his Mekor Chaim. In Siman 215, as part of a discussion of such Chumros as the 100 Berachos every day, or to say a certain amount of times Kaddish and Kedusha is because (as I understand him) people feel a lack of a real spiritual conection in their prayers and attempt to fill this void with added Chumrot. (I would have liked to add a scan but the OC is no longer free.)
A recent BA thesis on Chavos Yair that I'm quite interested in reading has the rather provocative title - Joseph Scherban, "Rabbi Yair Chaim Bachrach: The Life and Thought of a 17th century Jewish Skeptic," (BA thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 2008) - mentioned here. If anyone has it, please do drop me a note.