Lecture Texts

Transcendence and Higher Education

corybeckersite | October 1, 2014

Editor’s note: This lecture was delivered 1 May 1997 at Seattle University and in 1996 at the Skidmore Conference. It was the first day of the fall semester, and I was the college’s new academic dean. I had arrived at …

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Thinking About Seneca’s Thoughts on Dying

corybeckersite | October 1, 2014

Seneca (C. 4 B.C.- A.D.65), a Roman essayist, philosopher, playwright, and tutor to Nero, writes a short essay about his asthma, which he calls “difficulty in breathing.” Seneca says that he has suffered just about all that can go wrong …

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Who in Their Right Mind Wants War?

corybeckersite | October 1, 2014

Further engagement with Christopher Hedges’ book, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning Despite the fact that we pride ourselves on be a rational species, warfare appears to be one of the invariable constants in human history. From William …

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The Denial of Death and the Practice of Dying

corybeckersite | October 1, 2014

“The denial of death” is a phrase from Ernest Becker, and the title of his most famous book, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974. Becker’s book focuses on how we human beings develop strategies to fend off awareness of …

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Sixteen Central Ideas of the Theory of Generative Death Anxiety

corybeckersite | October 1, 2014

All living creatures have a strong, even overwhelming urge to continue living; yet our entire ecosystem would collapse without universal mortality (every living thing dies); thus, there is a basic paradox at the hear of the living cosmos. Human beings …

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