Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Synthesis of Ernest Becker

In 25 years of reading through so many different opinions it comes a time to pull together from all of these voices and speak my own. I feel drowned out by the opinions and assertions that bandy about while I am left silence or driving friends and family with my disjointed rants. No longer could I get by with rambling stories about all of the evils, mysteries, and fascinations in the world to be uncovered and examined. I needed to pull together something more cohesive. I needed to create a synthesis of all the pieces and find the patterns. I can get so bogged down by details and repetition that I lose sight of the underlying structure. Of course as I get my footing into the writing element over time my voice will come to the fore. In the meantime I apologize for my shortcomings in expressing my vision as it comes to me along the way.

A synthesis is a combination of parts that form a whole. With this in mind the beginning piece is very crucial and thus must be the cornerstone of the whole work. I push forth the cornerstone of my investigation revolves around creating harmony from the array of elements. In the book, The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker, the word synthesis is used in 6 of the 12 reviews of the inside cover. They proclaim such things as; psychophilosophical synthesis, a new synthesis, a brilliant passionate synthesis of the human sciences, a desperately needed synthesis of the most important discipline in man's life, creative contribution to a synthesis if this generation's extensive explorations in psychology, a profound synthesis of theological and psychological insights about mans nature. Sounds mouthwatering doesn't it. It makes you want to read the book. The book is quite good and I plan to get into it during the course of things.

The quote at the start of the preface of Denial of Death is from Otto Rank who was a student of Freud and is the primary focus of Becker's book along with the work Of Norman O. Brown. The Otto Rank quotes is as follow:
"for the time being I gave up writing - there is already too much truth in the
world- an over-production which apparently can't be consumed!"

Becker defines his mission as:

"show that the fear of death is a universal that unites data from several
disciplines of the human sciences, makes wonderfully clear and intelligible
human actions that we have buried under mountains of fact, and obscured with
endless back and forth arguments about the "true" human motives.. here in the
end of the 20th century and we are choking on truth"

I venture to say it has only got worse.

Related Links:

Pulitzer Prize Winning Book:

Documentary Film about Becker's Work

Synthesis Defined

Blog Essay regarding Becker, Rank, and Past Imperfect.

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