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The Denial of Death

The Denial of Death

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Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie -- man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than twenty years after its writing.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684832401 | 
  • May 1997
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Chapter One: Introduction: Human Nature and the Heroic

In times such as ours there is a great pressure to come tip with concepts that help men understand their dilemma; there is an urge toward vital ideas, toward a simplification of needless intellectual complexity. Sometimes this makes for big lies that resolve tensions and make it easy for action to move forward with just the rationalizations that people need. But it also makes for the slow disengagement of truths that help men get a grip on what is happening to them, that tell them where the problems really are.

One such vital truth that has long been known is the idea of... see more

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