The Ernest Becker Foundation
|I'm new to Ernest Becker. Where do I start?|
|Written by Administrator|
|Monday, 23 June 2008 13:58|
There's a lot of material out there about Ernest Becker. Books, films, articles, lectures...it can be overwhelming. But don't let that get you discouraged! The EBF has three introductory materials tailored specifically for newcomers like you.
1) An extremely engaging introductory audio lecture by Professor Sheldon Solomon can be downloaded directly from this website, and is also available on CD through the EBF. This is a great place to start if you want to understand the theoretical nuts and bolts of Becker's synthesis. (A transcript can also be downloaded.)
2) "Reapy: The Littlest Harbinger of Death" is a short comic written for those unfamiliar with Becker's theories. It provides a brief discussion of Denial of Death and how Becker is being used in social science research today. Download the pdf version.
3) The feature-length documentary Flight From Death introduces viewers to how death anxiety is the root cause of our behaviors on a psychological, spiritual, and cultural level. It is available through the EBF's online store.
With this introductory material completed, you certainly will be ready to read Becker's last three books, which most clearly outline his mature theory, and which we recommend taking in order: The Birth and Death of Meaning (1971), The Denial of Death (1973 - note that the 1997 printing includes a very cogent foreword by public philosopher Sam Keen), and Escape From Evil (1975).
These books are easily available at your local library or bookstore. In addition, many DVDs and CDs of Becker-oriented lectures and conferences are available through the EBF online store.
Becker on Otto Rank
"Rank's thought always spanned several fields of knowledge: when he talked about, say, anthropological data and you expected anthropological insight, you got something else, something more. Living as we do in an era of hyperspecialization we have lost the expectation of this kind of delight: the experts give us manageable thrills—if they thrill us at all."
From the preface to Denial of Death
more on Otto Rank here