RD Extra: Denying Death
Published July 8, 2010
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    Forty years ago Ernest Becker theorized in his "Denial of Death" that our culture and our cherished worldviews serve the purpose of maintaining our self-esteem and sense of meaning in the face of inevitable death and insignificance. More recently a body of work in the social sciences called "Terror Management Theory" has lent empirical evidence to these provocative ideas. The unconscious anxiety about our own mortality has been linked to group conflict, aggression against those who challenge our worldview, denial of our animal nature including the theory of evolution, and the unreasonable belief that the world is predictable and just.
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