HEROISM – THE DENIAL OF DEATH BY ERNEST BECKER

Updated : Nov 06, 2019 in Articles

HEROISM – THE DENIAL OF DEATH BY ERNEST BECKER


As children, we’re forced into a paradigm
of sheer reliance. Our senses made contact with an eery world
of things & creatures. Since it’s so foreign to us, and since our
powers are limited, dependence is the only option that’ll/can assure survival. This early phase is characterized cushy & pleasurable. If ever we need a thing, we only have to scream,
self-harm, and abracadabra! parents at your service. Then, (one day) we suddently stray into the
valley of giants, the adult world. Now how are we supposed to think for ourselves
after having been accustomed to parents & teachers taking care of us, coaxing us what’s right
or wrong, what we need & what we needn’t, what’s possible & what’s unthinkable. The self is like a tree, sown a nothing, grown
a something. In most cases, this something is not what
we have chosen to be. In fact, It’s a bunch of junk, external influences
loaded into us at times when we were most susceptible. Even the syllabes that shape our language. The words we use to speak, to self-talk. The meanings thereof. All these were devised by others. And that the whole of human character is chiefly
based on extrinsic effects, plainly explains why we lack self-trust & self-authority. -Despite all effort to compensate this lack,
for years we’ve been living on the receiving end to a point that our free-will mechanism
got hindered & molded. For so long we’ve been on the effect, that
to cause (something) would require tenfold the (mental) effort. Look closely, no one is blocking you from
wrestling your fears, but since you’re used to someone else to give you permission, you
get petrified, you can’t move, you’re in your head. “Is this the right thing to do?” “is it socially
acceptable?” “will daddy agree on this?” (1.5) One unlucky day(however), we find out that
those we have long perceived as authorities are mere humans, much like ourselves. And that they themselves are scared shitless
of life & death, are anxious, contracted & confined by the grandness & weightiness of the world. The aura of authority our parents radiate
is just a fa�ade they have to feign to make the chaotic external seem as though safe & secure,
to conceil the bitter truth that one day we’re going have to stand tall and face reality
head-on. Regardless of this revelation, even as adults
we keep on self-deceiving that someone else will serve as shield against our fears. We postpone confronting them, deluded that
one day or another, some sort of a savior is going do it for us. We usually turn a blind eye on our weaknesses. Quite often, any personal flaw you spot, you
shove it away at the back of your head. It keeps on poping up, however, irritating
you in a form of background noise in moments when you most need focus. The majority of psychic illnesses are the
product of resisting to look inward, as doing so would reveal one’s incompetencies, & cause
feelings of imperfection wich in turn, convey that we have no choice but to self-develop. Though we’re conscious of this, we make no
effort to change as change would require us to step into mayhem. Thus Fear of self-discovery goes hand in hand
with fear of the external world. We make use of countless amusements so we
could rationalize how we have no time for self-actualization, we’re busy distracting
ourselves. Challenging ideas? books that prompt self-doubt? no thanks! (we’re good). Ego-protection above all! We would kill for an effortless, meaningless
existence. In primitive times, caveman were tossed into
a harsh environment, one that entails consistant battle for survival against the wrath of nature. At the time, human conflicts were at a minumum. Cave people had to worry less about insults
or gossip. There were much greater threats to ponder
about, things that would naturally force people into union. There was no question of introvertion or extravertion
in case the tribe is jeoperdized. Every male available is expected to stand
for battle. From here it’s safe to say that such environment
demands strength & power from every member. I would further presume that cave people embodied
greater courage & mental toughness than modern man, seeing that their everyday reality was
based on wrestling with evolutionary pressure from the risk of getting eatin to starving. Nowadays, we live in a bubble of pleasure. If you happened to grow up shy & naive, it’s
totally fine, no one will ever shove you in discomfort. Today, you have the choice to face the world
or live in a cave, play videogames, work at home & never see sunshine ever again. Since we do have a choice, Unlike caveman,
guess what path the majority is going to take on? The question that presents itself: why do
most people chose a non-challenging life eventhough they’re aware of their limitless potential? Supreme qualities like Boldness are granted
only to the phoenix. The person who’d relentlessly throw himself
in the cleansing fire of fear-inducing situations. Although we’re conscious of these opportunities,
we tend to avoid such painful yet crusial events. Abraham Maslow, named this phenomena “the
jonah syndrome”: These peak moments involve the simultaneous
swift pumping of adrenaline, blood, endorphins & sweat, also hightened awareness, pounding
heartbeats, and an activation & deactivation of certain brain-parts. It is simply too much for us to stand. We sense as though we’re going to get decomposed
or annihilated by the happening. And so our spontaneous reflex is to resist
& avoid such experiences. quote: “We enjoy and even thrill to the godlike possibilities
we see in ourselves in such peak moments. And yet we simultaneously shiver with weakness,
awe, and fear before these very same possibilities.� Man’s heroism could be shackled by several
causes. One of wich is lack of authority over oneself. We spend years exercising the silly art of
obedience. Following orders, nodding heads & striving
to conform to gain approval & status within the herd. Since early age, we get rewarded for this
& hence self-prided yet punished if we do otherwise. Because of this submission based socialization,
it became nearly impossible for us to think on our own. If ever we feel uncertain, we’re more prone
to first question someone else, instead of experimenting & making our own conclusions. Your will has been bound to external opinions. This is why when confronted with fear, you
can only IMAGINE yourself in battle, but cower in fact as to act would require free-will. A second shackle for heroism could be the
“jonah syndrome”. We thrill to transcend into an ideal self. A powerful persona of impeccable traits. We envision all the opportunities such character
could grasp. We dream of taking control of our lives. But, at the same time we’re terrified of becoming
whom we ought to be, for every triumph needs a sacrifice. The acquisition of courage for instance, involves
going through regular pressure, terror, trauma; humiliation, guilt & doubt. There is no way around it. But, unlike caveman, we do have a choice. Most people got bought in to the cultural
hypnosis of a fear-free reality. Plus, these days you have no risk of getting
eaten which makes it easier to rationalize that life is & should be comfortable. If you happen to be born in primeval times,
you’d be constrained to do or die. From here, I’m sure it became self-evident
to you that human behavior is governed by two major fears. That is, the fear of life & the fear of death. Both are pretty much the basic root of all
kinds of anxiousness. Namely, on one hand, we’re so overwhelmed
by this extensive life-intensity. We feel inferior in the face of creation & its
chaotic nature. We shiver confronted with peak experiences. All This, shapes the fear of life. On the other side of the coin, we’ve got the
ultimatum that haunts us daily. A somewhat strenuous sensation, a nightmarish
thought, that one day, one hour, one moment, we are going to die.

19 Comments

  • Hey folks, how's it going? I hope you're fine!

    Today's video draws on personal analogies & concepts from the book to answer the question; what is it that chains man's heroism?

    Potential reasons:
    1-Lack of authority over one self. Fix: Take a 30 day or so challenge where in any situation that requires decision-making, ask no one, figure it out alone. With time it'll turn into a habit, and then, even in moments of terror, you will have trained yourself to self-generate acts & choices.

    2- A firmly established cultural hypnosis that presents the abstract of the concrete, i.e. societal conditioning that toils to hide vital aspects of reality (e.g. fear, pain, mortality) through the spreading of comfort-provision tools.

    3- The Jonah syndrome is a contradiction we live. On one hand, we really do want to better ourselves. At times, we even come to a point where we self-promise to do this or that. But, when showtime comes, we're struck by all kinds of psycho-physiological changes(fear) & hence are petrified. The gist of it, we long for power but are hindered to grasp it because it'd require lots of hustle, pain & strain.

    4- Lower paradigms are characterized by resistance against imperfection. Anything that isn't right about ourselves, we dread acknowledging it, though we know it's possible to improve. We don't want to come to terms with personal flaws because if we do, we will then have to welcome one hell of a strenuous journey. This means that fear of self-knowledge parallels fear of reality, namely, to develop your inner world, you have to go through painful experiences in the outer world, but since we haven't yet conceded what's inside, it only means we're also still in resistance with the outside.

    For this book, I have two more draft scripts to finalize. These sequels will further elaborate on the problem of courage & other related matters. I really can't wait to share them. Soon I hope.

    Thank you for watching.

  • In future make video on this two book,life changing for any couple
    John Gray
    Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex
    Gary Chapman
    The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

  • Gee whizz someone else is on to Becker. It's amazing how many people hide from the discoveries of this great mind. I'm going to be my own hero and check out of this miserable existence. One last thing, what makes you think our potential is "limitless"? Wtf do you base that on?

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