Here’s the notes for episode #24 of The Meaning of Everything show.

You might not think about death very often, but the work of today’s guest has demonstrated that death plays a crucial role in our psychological make-ups. Sheldon Solomon is an expert psychologist and one of the world’s leading theorists in Terror Management Theory, which is a subfield of psychology that explores how pretty much everything we do and think is an attempt to evade the prospect of death.  Death makes us feel vulnerable, so we become more entrenched in our cultural worldviews, more violent against outsiders, and more invested in our own egos.

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Sheldon Solomon is Professor of Psychology at Skidmore College.  His studies of the effects of the uniquely human awareness of death on behavior have been supported by the National Science Foundation and Ernest Becker Foundation, and were featured in the award winning documentary film Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality.  He is co-author of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror and The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life.  Sheldon is an American Psychological Society Fellow, and a recipient of an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation (2007), a Lifetime Career Award by the International Society for Self and Identity (2009), and the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Annual Faculty Award (2011).

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For more from Professor Solomon see his co-authored book on terror management:

The Worm at the Core

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