The Ernest Becker Foundation
|Of Recent Interest: "The Psychology of Time and Death"|
|Tuesday, 01 April 2003 03:00|
The Psychology of Time and Death by Steve Chaplin (Sonnet Press)
One of the recurring questions in discussions of Becker's death anxiety thesis is that of whether death anxiety is a stable factor throughout the lifespan, or if it impacts a person differently at different times of life. This is the only book I have seen that poses this problem directly and looks at death and time from a life cycle perspective. This is a book that I had to read over a period of months, not because the reading itself is difficult (Chaplin's writing is very accessible) but because it contains such a vast wealth of references, commentary, anecdotes and quotations that one must read and digest, read and digest.
This is definitely not a book for anyone who is unwilling to really look death and the aging process squarely in the face. It is unfortunately most unlikely that Oprah will ever focus on this one! I can report, however, that reading here is more than worth the effort. Jeff Greenberg, who wrote the foreword for this book, summarizes that this book "...concerns the challenges we all face over the lifespan from diminishing time and the prospect of death, and our main reactions to them - hope and depression.... In this book Steve Chaplin has achieved a unique fusion, cutting across many disciplinary and stylistic boundaries; I can only inadequately describe the resulting creation as a provocative treatise on the journey of life."
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