The Birth and Death of Meaning: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Problem of Man

The Birth and Death of Meaning: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Problem of Man

Ernest Becker

Language: English

Pages: 228

ISBN: 0029021901

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Uses the disciplines of psychology, anthropology, sociology and psychiatry to explain what makes people act the way they do.

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not reveal himself, who declares the vitality and priority of the inner self even though the mangled body dies in the process? As in all things human we are dealing here not only with a type of character who has made a peculiar kind of investment in the dualism of self and body, but also with a type of animal who must extend and establish his characterological preferences into an ontology, a philosophy of existence. The drama of the sadist is particularly interesting for the way it tries to

reflect crucial aspects of human adaptation. Consider this simple diagram (Figure 1): Face is the positive feeling of self-warmth turned to the world for others’ scrutiny and potential sabotage. Face is society’s window to the core of the self. We can only fully appreciate the importance of face when we realize that nothing goes deeper than the exposure of the self-esteem to possible intolerable undermining in the social encounter. This is the delicate charge that face rituals must protect.

prospector, we opened up the mountain and she gave us her gold, the least we can do is to close up her wounds. The two young men thought he was crazy. In Western society nature came to be looked on as a grab bag to be treated with scorn, or at least limitless greed. Nature was physical, not spiritual; neutral and self-renewing. Man takes what he can get, and deserves what he gets. The Plains Indians would today still be living securely off the vast herds of buffalo, had not the White man

Ferraris, and other material gadgets. They try to find their whole fulfillment in a sex partner, or in an endless succession of partners, or in their children; their sense of duty extends to the corporation, or to a branch of science, to a party, the nation, or at most the success of humanity on this planet. What is more, whole masses of men are deprived of these allegiances, of a meaningful place in the material culture hero-systems, and they have lost their belief in traditional religion as

Jung, Carl, 36, 51 Kafka, Franz, 63-64 Kaingang peoples, 13, 38 Kant, Immanuel, 22, 57, 124, 192 Kardiner, Abram, 86 Kazantzakis, Nikos, 193 Kennedy, J. G., 152 Kierkegaard, SØren, 42, 144, 145, 175, 195, 206 Kluckhohn, Florence, 113 La Barre, Weston, 14, 201 Laing, Ronald D., viii, 61, 164 on normalcy, 151 Language, 127 child’s use of, 24 development of, 5, 7, 14, 183, 201 See also Words Leaders, blind following of, 161, 162 Leenhardt, M., 206 Leifer, R., 151, 153 Lenin, V. I.,

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