Ernest Becker Quotes

Quotes tagged as "ernest-becker" (showing 1-6 of 6)
Ernest Becker
“Modern man is drinking and drugging himself out of awarness, or he spends his time shopping, which is the same thing. As awarness calls for types of heroic dedication that his culture no longer provides for him, society contrives to help him forget. In the mysterious way in which life is given to us in evolution on this planet, it pushes in the direction of its own expansion. We don’t understand it simply because we don’t know the purpose of creation; we only feel life straining in ourselves and see it thrashing others about as they devour each other. Life seeks to expand in an unknown direction for unknown reasons.

What are we to make of creation in which routine activity is for organisms to be tearing others apart with teeth of all types - biting, grinding flesh, plant stalks, bones between molars, pushing the pulp greedily down the gullet with delight, incorporating its essence into one’s own organization, and then excreting with foul stench and gasses residue. Everyone reaching out to incorporate others who are edible to him. The mosquitoes bloating themselves on blood, the maggots, the killer-bees attacking with a fury and a demonism, sharks continuing to tear and swallow while their own innards are being torn out - not to mention the daily dismemberment and slaughter in “natural” accidents of all types: an earthquake buries alive 70 thousand bodies in Peru, a tidal wave washes over a quarter of a million in the Indian Ocean. Creation is a nightmare spectacular taking place on a planet that has been soaked for hundreds of millions of years in the blood of all creatures. The soberest conclusion that we could make about what has actually been taking place on the planet about three billion years is that it is being turned into a vast pit of fertilizer. But the sun distracts our attention, always baking the blood dry, making things grow over it, and with its warmth giving the hope that comes with the organism’s comfort and expansiveness.”
Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death

Ernest Becker
“In this view, man is an energy-converting organism who must exert his manipulative powers, who must damage his world in some ways, who must make it uncomfortable for others, etc., by his own nature as an active being. He seeks self-expansion from a very uncertain power base. Even if man hurts others, it is because he is weak and afraid, not because he is confident and cruel. Rousseau summed up this point of view with the idea that only the strong person can be ethical, not the weak one.”
Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil

Ernest Becker
“Man is an animal who has to live in a lie in order to
live at all.”
Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil

Ernest Becker
“People were always ready to yield their
wills, to worship the hero, because they were not given a chance
for developing initiative, stability, and independence, said the great
nineteenth-century Russian sociologist Nikolai Mikhailovsky”
Ernest Becker

Ernest Becker
“In this view, man is an energy-converting
organism who must exert his manipulative powers, who must damage his world in some ways, who must make it uncomfortable for others, etc., by his own nature as an active being. He seeks self-expansion
from a very uncertain power base. Even if man hurts
others, it is because he is weak and afraid, not because he is confident and cruel. Rousseau summed up this point of view with the idea that only the strong person can be ethical, not the weak one.”
Ernest Becker

Ernest Becker
“Even if men admit they are cowards, they still want to be saved. There is no "harmonious development," no child-rearing program, no self-reliance that would take away from men their need for a "beyond" on which to base the meaning of their lives.”
Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil