X-Message-Number: 32154
From: "John de Rivaz" <>
Subject: immortality projects can bring death closer
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 10:37:20 -0000

An article in The Guardian, ostensibly about TV personality Clive James' 
attitude to global warming, has a great deal to say about the failure of 
cryonics to attract the 30% of the population who tell pollsters that they would
be interested.


In 1973 the cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker proposed that the fear of 
death drives us to protect ourselves with "vital lies" or "the armour of 
character". We defend ourselves from the ultimate terror by engaging in 
immortality projects, which boost our self-esteem and grant us meaning that 
extends beyond death. More than 300 studies conducted in 15 countries appear to 
confirm Becker's thesis. When people are confronted with images or words or 
questions that remind them of death they respond by shoring up their worldview, 
rejecting people and ideas that threaten it, and increasing their striving for 

One of the most arresting findings is that immortality projects can bring death 
closer. In seeking to defend the symbolic, heroic self that we create to 
suppress thoughts of death, we might expose the physical self to greater danger.
For example, researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel found that people who
reported that driving boosted their self-esteem drove faster and took greater 
risks after they had been exposed to reminders of death.


more on


Sincerely, John de Rivaz:  http://John.deRivaz.com for websites including
Cryonics Europe, Longevity Report, The Venturists, Porthtowan, Alec Harley
Reeves - inventor, Arthur Bowker - potter, de Rivaz genealogy,  Nomad .. and

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