What are you doing to earn your feeling of heroism?
December 19, 2004 8:40 PM Subscribe
The Ernest Becker Foundation is "devoted to multidisciplinary inquiries into human behavior, with a particular focus on violence," based on the work of the titular academic iconoclast, "to support research and application at the interfaces of science, the humanities, social action and religion." Becker's Pulitzer-winning The Denial of Death (completed just before his own tragic demise at 49) viewed Kierkegaard's proto-existentialism through the lens of Otto Rank's psychology and concluded that "the root of humanly caused evil is not man's animal nature, not territorial aggression, or innate selfishness, but our need to gain self-esteem, deny our mortality and achieve a heroic self-image" (summary quoted from Sam Keen's excellent Foreword to the latest edition of the work). The book has now inspired an award-winning indie documentary that purports to be "the first documentary film ever [!] to examine the manifestations of death anxiety on spiritual, cultural, and psychological levels." (6.5 MB QT trailer)
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