The role of death in life, 2 / by JW Harrington

“We humans all manage the problem of knowing we are mortal by calling on two basic psychological resources.  First, we need to sustain faith in our cultural worldview, which imbues our sense of reality with order, meaning, and permanence…. Since we’re constantly on the brink of realizing that our existence is precarious, we cling to our culture’s governmental, educational, and religious institutions and rituals that buttress our view of human life as uniquely significant and eternal.

“The paths to literal and symbolic immortality laid out by our worldviews require us to feel that we are valuable members of our cultures.  Hence, the second vital resource for managing terror is a feeling of personal significance,  commonly known as self-esteem.”

-- Sheldon Solomon et al. (2015).  The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life, p. 9