Best 61 of Ernest Becker quotes - MyQuotes

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Ernest Becker
By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

Love is the problem of an animal who must find life, create a dialogue with nature in order to experience his own being.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Ernest Becker

Man is an animal who has to live in a lie in order to live at all.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

Ecological devastation is the excrement, so to speak, of man's power worship.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Ernest Becker

If we don't have the omnipotence of gods, we at least can destroy like the gods.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

...Erich Fromm wondered why most people did not become insane in the face of the existential contradiction between a symbolic self, that seems to give man infinite worth in a timeless scheme of things, and a body that is worth about 98¢.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why - Warren Bennis, Leadership Guru It is not so much that man is a herd animal, said Freud, but that he is a horde animal led by a chief

By Anonym 18 Sep

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

By Anonym 19 Sep

Ernest Becker

The real world is simply too terrible to admit; it tells man that he is a small, trembling animal who will decay and die.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

One of the main reasons that it is so easy to march men off to war is that each of them feels sorry for the man next to him who will die.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

Better guilt than the terrible burden of freedom and responsibility.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Ernest Becker

This is the most remarkable achievement of the Christian world picture: that it could take slaves, cripples, imbeciles, the simple and the mighty, and make them all secure heroes, simply by taking a step back from the world into another dimension of things, the dimension called heaven.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Ernest Becker

Today we are living the grotesque spectacle of the poisoning of the earth by the nineteenth-century hero system of unrestrained material production. This is perhaps the greatest and most pervasive evil to have emerged in all of history, and it may even eventually defeat all of mankind. Still there are no "twisted" people whom we can hold responsible for this.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

What man really fears is not so much extinction, but extinction with insignificance.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

For man, maximum excitement is the confrontation of death and the skillful defiance of it by watching others fed to it as he survives transfixed with rapture.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Ernest Becker

[Man] literally drives himself into a blind obliviousness with social games, psychological tricks, personal preoccupations so far removed from the reality of his situation that they are forms of madness, but madness all the same.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

Love is the problem of an animal.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

Man's natural and inevitable urge to deny mortality and achieve a heroic self-image are the root causes of human evil.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Ernest Becker

We called one's lifestyle a vital lie, and now we can understand better why we said it was vital: it is a necessary and basic dishonesty about oneself and one's whole situation... We don't want to admit that we are fundamentally dishonest about reality, that we do not really control our own lives.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

What does it mean to be a self-conscious animal? The idea is ludicrous, if it is not monstrous. It means to know that one is food for worms.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

All power is in essence power to deny mortality.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

War is a sociological safety valve that cleverly diverts popular hatred for the ruling classes into a happy occasion to mutilate or kill foreign enemies.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

If the love object is divine perfection, then one's own self is elevated by joining one's destiny to it... All our guilt, fear, and even our mortality itself can be purged in a perfect consummation with perfection itself.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

The irony of man's condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

When you confuse personal love and cosmic heroism you are bound to fail in both spheres. The impossibility of the heroism undermines the love, even if it is real. This double failure is what produces the sense of utter despair that we see in modern man... Love, then, is seen a religious problem

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

Modern man is drinking and drugging himself out of awareness, or he spends his time shopping, which is the same thing.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

Genuine heroism for man is still the power to support contradictions, no matter how glaring or hopeless they may seem.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

The real world is simply too terrible to admit. it tells man that he is a small trembling animal who will someday decay and die. Culture changes all of this,makes man seem important,vital to the universe. immortal in some ways

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

To live fully is to live with an awareness of the rumble of terror that underlies everything.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

To live is to play at the meaning of life...The upshot of this . . . is that it teaches us once and for all that childlike foolishness is the calling of mature men.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

Once you base your whole life striving on a desperate lie, and try to implement that lie, you instrument your own undoing.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

We might say that psychoanalysis revealed to us the complex penalties of denying the truth of man's condition, what we might call the costs of pretending not to be mad.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

And so we see the paradox that evolution has handed us. If man is the only animal whose consciousness of self gives him an unusual dignity in the animal kingdom, he also pays a tragic price for it. The fact that the child has to identify -first- means that his very first identity is a social product. His habitation of his own body is built from the outside in; not from the inside out. He doesn't unfold into the world, the world unfolds into him. As the child responds to the vocal symbols learned from his object, he often gives the pathetic impression of being a true social puppet, jerked by alien symbols and sounds. What sensitive parent does not have his satisfaction tinged with sadness as the child repeats with such vital earnestness the little symbols that are taught him?

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

I think that taking life seriously means something such as this: that whatever man does on this planet has to be done in the lived truth of the terror of creation, of the grotesque, of the rumble of panic underneath everything. Otherwise it is false. Whatever is achieved must be achieved with the full exercise of passion, of vision, of pain, of fear, and of sorrow. How do we know, that our part of the meaning of the universe might not be a rhythm in sorrow?

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

The artist takes in the world, but instead of being oppressed by it, he reworks it in his own personality and recreates it in the work of art.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

In seeking to avoid evil, humanity is responsible for bringing more evil into the world than organisms could ever do merely by exercising their digestive tracts. It is our ingenuity, rather than our animal nature, that has given our fellow creatures such a bitter earthly fate.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

What does it mean to be a self-conscious animal? The idea is ludicrous, if it is not monstrous. It means to know that one is food for worms. This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consiousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expression and with all this yet to die. It seems like a hoax, which is why one type of cultural man rebels openly against the idea of God. What kind of deity would crate such a complex and fancy worm food?

By Anonym 19 Sep

Ernest Becker

This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expression - and with all this yet to die.

By Anonym 17 Sep

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

The key to the creative type is that he is separated out of the common pool of shared meanings. There is something in his life experience that makes him take in the world as a problem; as a result he has to make personal sense out of it.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity - designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny of man.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

Horror alone brings peace of mind.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

If everyone lives roughly the same lies about the same thing, there is no one to call them liars. They jointly establish their own sanity and themselves normal.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

The creativity of people on the schizophrenic end of the human continuum is a creativity that springs from the inability to accept the standardized cultural denials of the real nature of ex­perience. And the price of this kind of almost "extra human" crea­tivity is to live on the brink of madness, as men have long known.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Ernest Becker

Yet, at the same time, as the Eastern sages also knew, man is a worm and food for worms. This is the paradox: he is out of nature and hopelessly in it; he is dual, up in the stars and yet housed in a heart-pumping, breath-gasping body that once belonged to a fish and still carries the gill-marks to prove it. His body is a material fleshy casing that is alien to him in many ways—the strangest and most repugnant way being that it aches and bleeds and will decay and die. Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order to blindly and dumbly rot and disappear forever. It is a terrifying dilemma to be in and to have to live with. The lower animals are, of course, spared this painful contradiction, as they lack a symbolic identity and the self-consciousness that goes with it. They merely act and move reflexively as they are driven by their instincts. If they pause at all, it is only a physical pause; inside they are anonymous, and even their faces have no name. They live in a world without time, pulsating, as it were, in a state of dumb being. This is what has made it so simple to shoot down whole herds of buffalo or elephants. The animals don't know that death is happening and continue grazing placidly while others drop alongside them. The knowledge of death is reflective and conceptual, and animals are spared it. They live and they disappear with the same thoughtlessness: a few minutes of fear, a few seconds of anguish, and it is over. But to live a whole lifetime with the fate of death haunting one's dreams and even the most sun-filled days—that's something else.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

The greatest cause of evil included all human motives in one giant paradox. Good and bad were so inextricably mixed that we couldn't make them out; bad seemed to lead to good, and good motives led to bad. The paradox is that evil comes from man's urge to heroic victory over evil.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

a perfect description of the “automatic cultural man”—man as confined by culture, a slave to it, who imagines that he has an identity if he pays his insurance premium, that he has control of his life if he guns his sports car or works his electric toothbrush. Today the inauthentic or immediate men are familiar types, after decades of Marxist and existentialist analysis of man’s slavery to his social system. But in Kierkegaard’s time it must have been a shock to be a modern European city-dweller and be considered a Philistine at the same time. For Kierkegaard “philistinism” was triviality, man lulled by the daily routines of his society, content with the satisfactions that it offers him: in today’s world the car, the shopping center, the two-week summer vacation. Man is protected by the secure and limited alternatives his society offers him, and if he does not look up from his path he can live out his life with a certain dull security: Devoid of imagination, as the Philistine always is, he lives in a certain trivial province of experience as to how things go, what is possible, what usually occurs… . Philistinism tranquilizes itself in the trivial…

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

When we understand that man is the only animal who must create meaning, who must open a wedge into neutral nature, we already understand the essence of love. Love is the problem of an animal who must find life, create a dialogue with nature in order to experience his own being.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ernest Becker

Guilt results from unused life, from the unlived in us.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ernest Becker

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 its creatures.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ernest Becker

the best existential analysis of the human condition leads directly into the problems of God and faith