The Ernest Becker Foundation
|Understanding the Violence of Climate Change Denial|
|Saturday, 29 October 2011 14:12|
Our capacity to learn from experience is not unlimited. Beckerian blocks, and other obstacles thwart our progress. Beyond these limits, no one has yet experienced the death of a planet, or its redemption from the jaws of destruction. In October at Seattle University the EBF conference faculty and about 50 attendeesthought beyond these unthinkables and sharpened the mental and spiritual tools needed to break down the walls of global climate change denial, the focus of this year’s conference.
Janis Dickinson, of Cornell University, delivered the Friday night keynote talk based on her paper “The People Paradox: Self-Esteem Striving, Immortality Ideologies, and Human Response to Climate Change.” Melissa Soenke of Arizona University, a TMT researcher
On day two, Dr. Dickinson expanded on her model and opened discussions of implications
William H. Calvin, Professor Emeritus at UW and a theoretical neurobiologist, linked Becker’s work on self-protective defenses with our otherwise powerful scenario-spinning capacity that accommodates to, and is hobbled by, gradual changes such as those in climate creep. Dr. Calvin provided new language and analyses that could enable effective leaders to turn some future Katrina-type event into a pivot-point for reversing our momentum toward catastrophic change.
Richard Young, who is on several department faculties at Seattle University including Environmental Studies, gave the last lecture of the second day by proposing the end of the transfer of the unintended costs of industrial economy to the environment and to those who live at the margins of our national economy or at the receiving end of its global reach for cheaper resources and labor. Dr. Young proposed an ecology tax that would cause consumers and producers to evaluate the real costs of their activities. Its message is captured by the Spanish proverb “Take all you want”, God said, “and pay for it.”
Becker on Otto Rank
"Rank was—as the young people say—'something else' You cannot merely praise much of his work because in its stunning brilliance it is often fantastic, gratuitous, superlative; the insights seem like a gift, beyond what is necessary."
From the preface to Denial of Death
more on Otto Rank here