Ernest Becker The Birth And Death Of Meaning Summary

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In “The Birth and Death of Meaning” by Ernest Becker he is making an argument on the problems of man (Becker, 1971). Becker makes an argument on the reasons why people act the way that they do (1971). In chapter 10 Becker lists six of the common problems with humans (1971). The first question with the problem with humans is “what is the relation of man to nature?” (Becker, 1971, p. 114). The second question with the problem with humans is “what are the innate predispositions of men?” (Becker, 1971, p. 116). The third question with the problem with humans is “what types of personality are most valued” (Becker, 1971, p. 116). The fourth question with the problem with humans is “what are the modes of relating to others” (Becker, 1971, p. 116).…show more content…
We should value nature and its animals much more (Becker, 1971). In today’s world we have what Becker calls a “power-saw mentality” (Becker, 1971, p. 114). Instead we’re greedy with what nature has to offer us. “Man takes what nature offers us, but usually only what he needs” (Becker, 1971, p. 114). There is a psychological difference in today’s world of what we enjoy out of nature (Becker, 1971). So Becker’s question of, “what is the relation of man to nature?” (p. 114), is essential because the relationship we have with nature not only affects our survival but our psychological state as well…show more content…
“Time can go in cycles and be renewed every hundred years, as in ancient Rome; it can be measured by moons, as among some Indian tribes, rotations of the planets, or by atomic clocks;” (Becker, 1971, p. 117) “Space for the primitive can be a vaulted dome…a modern physicist understand space as spherical, extending to the furthest reaches of the universe and then curving back: somehow infinite, yet unbounded and expanding; it has no center…” (Becker, 1971, p. 117)
(6) Becker’s sixth and last question is “what is the hierarchy of power in nature and society (and where do I fit into it)?” I think this question relates to questions three and four. The hierarchy of power relates to which personalities are most valued which gives one their power. A person will fit in according to how much their personality is valued.
I think that Becker’s work is psychological because in his argument he is drawing from psychological perspectives in his book. For instance in chapter 2 Becker discusses the evolution of the mind of animals. “Surely the development of the brain to its present size and complexity in man is one of the astonishing, science-fiction aspects of evolution (Becker, 1971, p. 7). He describes how the minds of humans and some animals have evolved over years and how differently it works opposed to other

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