Quote Post: Irvin D. Yalom

'A sense of fulfillment, a feeling that life has been well lived, mitigates against the terror of death.'

― Irvin D. Yalom

Quote Post: 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.'

― Ernest Becker

Quote Post: Irvin D. Yalom

'If there are no rules, no grand designs, nothing we must do, then we are free to do as we choose … But we are unprepared; it is too much to bear, anxiety clamours for release, and, at both individual and social levels, we engage in a frenetic search to shield ourselves from freedom.'

― Irvin D. Yalom

Quote Post: 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.'

― Ernest Becker

Quote Post: Irvin D. Yalom

'Death acts as a catalyst that can move one from one state of being to a higher one: from a state of wondering about how things are to a state of wonderment that they are. An awareness of death shifts one away from trivial preoccupations and provides life with depth and poignancy and entirely different perspective.'

― Irvin D. Yalom

Quote Post: George Orwell

'The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.'

― 1984 by George Orwell

Quote Post: Andrew Guess, Jonathan Nagler, and Joshua Tucker

'On average, users over 65 [in the U.S. on Facebook] shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news domains as the youngest age group.'

(During the U.S. 2016 Presidential campaign)
Source: Guess, Nagler, and Tucker, ‘Less than you think: Prevalence and predictors of fake news dissemination on Facebook’, ScienceAdvances, Volume 5, January 2019, https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.aau4586

Quote Post: Chrissy Stroop

'You are not a traitor to your family for:

- abandoning their religion
- not conforming re: gender and sexuality
- making your own political, lifestyle, and ethical choices

If your parents coerced you in the above matters, *they* betrayed *you*.'

― Chrissy Stroop

Quote Post: Office for National Statistics (UK)

Quote Post: @srnairn

'Business wants older workers to retire because of cognitive and physical decline but are all for them running the systems that supposedly check and balance'

― twitter.com/srnairn

Source: https://twitter.com/srnairn/status/1454962358082752513

Terror Management Theory criticism

A list of academic criticism of Terror Management Theory (TMT), and also efforts to replicate original studies

(ordered chronologically by date first published)

1997. David M. Buss – ‘Human Social Motivation in Evolutionary Perspective: Grounding Terror Management Theory’, Psychological Enquiry, January 1997. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/246399872_Human_Social_Motivation_in_Evolutionary_Perspective_Grounding_Terror_Management_Theory.

2002. Mark R. Leary and Lisa S. Schreindorfer – ‘Unresolved Issues With Terror Management Theory’, EBSCO Publishing, 2002. http://plaza.ufl.edu/phallman/terror%20management%20theory/7390252.pdf.

2005. Carlos David Navarrete and Daniel M.T. Fessler – ‘Normative Bias and Adaptive Challenges: A Relational Approach to Coalitional Psychology and a Critique of Terror Management Theory’, Evolutionary Psychology, 2005. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/147470490500300121.

2006. Lee A. Kirkpatrick & Carlos David Navarrette – ‘Reports of My Death Anxiety Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: A Critique of Terror Management Theory from an Evolutionary Perspective’, Psychological Enquiry, 2006. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10478400701366969.

2008. Wissink et al. – ‘Replication of “Terror management and adults’ attachment to their parents: The safe haven remains” by CR Cox, J Arndt, T Pyszczynski, J Greenberg, A Abdollahi, S Solomon’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2008. https://osf.io/5tbxf/.

2011. Zachary P. Hohman, Michael A. Hogg – ‘Fear and uncertainty in the face of death: The role of life after death in group identification’, European Journal of Social Psychology, June 2011. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejsp.818.

2014. Lambert et al. – ‘Toward a greater understanding of the emotional dynamics of the mortality salience manipulation: revisiting the “affect-free” claim of terror management research’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, May 2014. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24749817/.

2019. Bjørn Sætrevik & Hallgeir Sjåstad – ‘Mortality salience effects fail to replicate in traditional and novel measures’, May 2019. https://psyarxiv.com/dkg53.

2019. Javier Rodríguez-Ferreiro et al. – ‘Are we truly special and unique? A replication of Goldenberg et al. (2001)’, Royal Society Open Science, November 2019. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsos.191114.

2019. Klein et al. – ‘Many Labs 4: Failure to Replicate Mortality Salience Effect With and Without Original Author Involvement’, December 2019. https://psyarxiv.com/vef2c.


And just for completeness really, here are a couple of the early foundational TMT studies:

1986. Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski, and Sheldon Solomon – ‘The causes and consequences of a need for self-esteem: a terror management theory’, Springer Series in Social Psychology, January 1986. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313613028_The_causes_and_consequences_of_a_need_for_self-esteem_a_terror_management_theory.

1994. Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski, Sheldon Solomon, Linda Simon, and Michael Breus – ‘Role of Consciousness and Accessibility of Death-Related Thoughts in Mortality Salience Effects’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, November 1994. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/15232849_Role_of_Consciousness_and_Accessibility_of_Death-Related_Thoughts_in_Mortality_Salience_Effects.

If I’ve missed any obvious academic criticism up to 2022, or any obvious foundational TMT studies, please let me know, and I will make sure to add them.

Great Watching: Life On The Rocks

‘At the mouth of the Firth of Forth sits an ancient volcanic island, home to the world’s largest colony of Gannets; The Bass Rock. For three years from 1960, June Nelson and her late husband Bryan called it their home, intimately studying the birds and their behaviours. June reflects on their time together and the catastrophic loss of global seabird populations in the years since‘:

Watch the short documentary on vimeo.com >>

Great Reads: Ready to Leave QAnon? Shannon Martinez Will Show You the Way

A former white supremacist on how disappointed Q followers can regain agency in their lives — but only if they’re willing‘:

For followers of QAnon, Inauguration Day was never supposed to happen. There was going to be an uprising, assassinations, and Donald Trump was supposed to remain in office, victorious. On January 20, as Joe Biden was being sworn in as the 46th president, Shannon Foley Martinez sat down to make a video that spoke directly to followers of Q as the transfer of power peacefully occurred. “Many of you are grappling with a sense of confusion, betrayal, shame, embarrassment, and anger. That you’ve been led astray and lied to,” she says in a calm, patient voice. “I want to urge you to stay alive.”

Martinez is a former white supremacist who helps empower individuals to leave violence-​based lifestyles and ideologies. Over the past year, QAnon has become one of the most powerful conspiracy theories in the county, fueled by people trapped at home, scared and uncertain, with a troll-​in-​chief fanning the flames of disinformation.

Seyward Darby, author of Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism, recently spoke with Martinez about what can be done in this disorienting, transitional moment to reach out to followers of QAnon and begin the long, tenuous process of drawing loved ones away from conspiracy theories.

Read the full article on medium.com >>

Great Reads: The best books on Fear of Death recommended by Sheldon Solomon

Sophie Roell interviews Sheldon Solomon:

Sophie Roell: Before we get to the books, do you really think fear of death drives most of human behaviour?

Sheldon Solomon: Yes. I don’t think it’s the only motivational impulse for what people do, but it pervades a substantial portion of human activity — whether we’re aware of it or not. Mostly, we’re not. In our book, The Worm at the Core, we’re borrowing ideas from the books we will talk about momentarily. What we add to the enterprise are empirical studies that, by traditional scientific standards, lend credibility to these claims. None of the authors are saying this is the only reason we do things. What they are saying – and what we try to say in our book — is that if we don’t consider the role that existential concerns play in human affairs, we’ll be able to understand or explain very little.

Sophie Roell: So before you did these experiments, many people had claimed fear of death was an important motivator, but nobody had really proven it?

Read the rest of the interview on fivebooks.com >>

Great Watching: Dreamhome

From lazenby. ‘In every dream home a heartache’:

Watch the video on youtube.com >>

Great Watching: The seeker

The seeker. ‘When his faith crumbles, an ‘Amish atheist’ rebuilds his world from scratch’.

Watch the short documentary on psyche.co >>

Great Reads: How to Die Well, According to a Palliative Care Doctor

By Mark Starmach. ‘Preparing for death by making peace with it’:

First, you withdraw.

Life shrinks down to the size of your home, then to your bedroom, then to your bed—sometimes over months, but more often over weeks.

Old joys stop having the same pull.

You eat less, drink less. Have less interest in speaking.

As your body’s systems start shutting down, you have less and less energy.

You sleep more and more throughout the day.

You start to slip in and out of consciousness and unconsciousness for longer periods of time.

Staying alive starts to feel like staying awake when you are very immensely tired.

At some point, you can’t hold on any longer.

And then you die.

A calm fall into a cosmic sleep.

But that’s not even the half of it.

“There are four ways people tend to die,” the older woman opposite me says as she reaches for a napkin and a ballpoint pen.

Read the full article on medium.com >>

Great Watching: Goal

Goal from Jacob Jonas The Company. I like to think of this short film as a look at how professional people have to contort themselves to get the prize:

Great Reads: The Four Scientific Meanings Of ‘Nothing’

By Ethan Siegel:

‘When we look around at our world and Universe today, we talk and think about all the things that are in it. These range from particles, atoms, and human beings to planets, stars, galaxies, and the largest structures of all. Depending on what we’re interested in, we might discuss gas, dust, radiation, black holes, or even dark matter. But all the things we see, observe, or infer the existence of today might not have been there forever. Some of these arose from some pre-existing matter that was around previously, but others seemingly came from nothing. Unsurprisingly, not everyone agrees about what we mean, scientifically, when we talk about what “nothing” actually is. Depending on who you ask (or when you ask them), you might get one of four separate meanings. Here’s why they’re all relevant.’

Read the full article on medium.com >>