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The Denial of Death Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Sep 2005


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Audio Cassette, Audiobook, Sep 2005
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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786136995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786136995
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.8 x 5.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Review

"New York Times Book Review" ...a brave work of electrifying intelligence and passion, optimistic and revolutionary, destined to endure... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

After receiving a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Syracuse University, Dr. Ernest Becker (1924-1974) taught at the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State College, and Simon Fraser University, Canada. He is survived by his wife, Marie, and a foundation that bears his name -- The Ernest Becker Foundation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paul Stanfield on 12 April 2003
Format: Paperback
For me, this has been one of the most important books I have ever read. If you haven't read it, I would obviously encourage you to do so.
I noticed that one of the reviewers thought that Becker had surrendered to some sort concept of God. I'm afraid that I disagree strongly with this view. My view is that Becker calls for the courage to be (to steal Tillich's phrase) and that the act or process of creativity is in and of itself meaningful - is possibly the only higher level authentic way of being. It is not at all that he is calling for happy denial. I think he agrues that denial is necessary for mental health but that through a constant creative process denial can be recognized and used as a source and dynamo for growth and self-willed courageous living. True, there are echoes of this in various religious tradtions (I'm thinking particularly of Jewish negative theology and Moltmann-esque Christianity) but in my estimation that says something good about those traditons rather than something bad about Becker's approach.
Paul
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 July 1997
Format: Paperback
All lovers of existentialism will enjoy Becker's treatment of life and death. Becker won the Pulitzer Prize for this work when it was first published in 1974. Ironically and tragically, Becker himself died of cancer that very same year. He was 50 years old. I have been unsuccessful in my efforts to find out whether or not Becker knew of his sickness when he wrote the work. He certainly writes as one who understands the darkness of human life. Becker's thesis is that human personality and behavior has its deepest roots in our denying our death (thus the title). By this he means not only our death itself, but all of the horrors associated with our mortality as human beings. Becker makes frequent reference to Otto Rank, and reiterates Rank's point that all human cultural creation is inevitably religious in nature. There is also a wonderful treatment of Freud which will be especially refreshing to all those nauseauted by modern attempts to dress up Freud's theories and make them appear more optomistic than they are, as well as a discussion of Freud's breaks with Jung and others. There is even a chapter on Kierkegaard. Becker also attempts to show that neurosis is at least in part a result of not being able to erect the 'denial of death' defense mechanisms so many do, and that those who traverse the depths of human existence cannot but go mad to some degree. He says at one point, "No wonder the road of the artist so often detous through the madhouse." Finally, Becker bashes modern psychology, which makes this book an absolute must for any deep thinker who is considering entering this field. The Denial of Death is brutally honest, scholastic, and beautiful. Best of all, Becker doesn't make the all too common mistake of attempting to provide a solution (something all lovers of Camus will appreciate). The last 10 pages alone make this book worth reading. Read it thoughtfully and you will never be quite the same.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Oct 1997
Format: Paperback
Ernest Becker's Denial of Death explicates the human propensityto create illusions which obfuscate consciousness of the immanence of death and meaninglesnness. Drawing on cultural anthropology, social psychology, and psychoanalysis, Becker explores the human need to ornament reality with illusions and palliative fantasies which protect consciousness from our mortal fear and dread. Becker proposes that death is the "worm at the core" of human self-awareness, and we suffer intense fear and despair at the prospect of our own finitude, mortal decay, and meaninglesness. We therefore resort to character defenses and illusions to blot out our meaninglessness, helplessness, and creatureliness from consciousness.
Becker claims that we could not survive without such illusions, and that we create religion, myth, and ideology to establish a meaningful and dependable universe. Such fictions also provide a fantasy in which we can establish a personal sense of importance and esteem, a feeling of cosmic heroism in an otherwise terrifying universe.
However, whereas human beings functioned historically through the operation of these religious fantasies to evade death and meaninglessness, religion no longer provides a coherent meaning system for many people. Hence, we now create our own fantasies of "the dramatic apotheosis of man." We are now forced to invent our own personal illusions. In other words, where the social fantasy no longer holds, we become neurotics divorced from community and reality. According to Becker, the human animal is the sick animal. Normalcy is neurosis, since we cannot endure reality without anodynous illusions.
In addition, we engage in violent struggle against others to conquer death and weakness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. D. Araujo on 10 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
Ernest Becker is fairly easy to read, and the concepts he refers to are either well introduced through the book before they become widely called upon, or they will be clearly understood after a little while.
This is a very wide-ranging work, in which Ernest Becker first paints a comprehensive panorama of the problem of death anxiety from every point of view and possible significance, making use of a wealth of knowledge on the subject within psychology and beyond. At the very last part, he draws a conclusion more clearly of his own, and it feels less like the putting together of a puzzle and more like his own freehand sketching.
Now about my personal experience with this book. The book even proves a lot of what it teaches you, by making you observe the things around you and see exactly what you read, if you had not seen it in yourself before. Another thing Becker achieves is that by the time you come to read the concluding chapter, you had almost reached that same conclusion by yourself, but still his words truly satisfy you. The book taught me first hand what unusual instances transference can have. When I had only a few pages left, I was a bit afraid of finishing it. I am only starting to read psychology now, and in this book I had an object that allowed me to safely and automatically "analyse", so to speak, and once I had finished it, I would have to move on by myself and do it "on my own steam". I realised this before I finished reading the book, which was funny. Then, gladly, the final pages really do not leave you afraid or lost in the middle of the road or feeling down about anything at all (without resorting to any calls for new fantastic unrepressed beings). I think the book instead takes you all the way to a place where there are many directions in which to progress.
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