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  1. #31
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    Re: Existential Therapy: What Can Death Teach Us About Life?

    Death Anxiety
    Robert Firestone, PhD

    When their death anxiety is aroused, people tend to become increasingly defensive in ways that are harmful to themselves and often to others as well. Even though they may initially respond positively by embracing life more fully, over time, most people usually retreat to a more defended posture. As they deny death to protect themselves, they lose perspective, giving importance to insignificant issues in their lives while failing to value other relevant and meaningful influences. Many people tend to live life as though they will never die and can afford to squander their most valuable experiences...

    As people expand their awareness of aloneness and existential issues of life and death, contemplate the essential dilemma and mystery of existence, and face their emotional pain, they generally develop a deeper and more abiding respect for other people’s feelings and well-being, as well as their own. These sentiments are translated into acts of kindness, sensitivity, and compassion toward other people who cross their path. When we challenge our defensive reactions to death anxiety, we are better able to confront death with equanimity, feel more aware, live in the present, and experience both the joy and pain of existence without resorting to fantasy and illusion. In becoming more open and vulnerable, we are able to more fully embrace love and the spirit of life.

  2. #32
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    Re: Existential Therapy: What Can Death Teach Us About Life?

    “As long as man is an ambiguous creature, he can never banish anxiety; what he can do instead is to use anxiety as an eternal spring for growth into new dimensions of thought and trust.”

    ~ Ernest Becker

  3. #33
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    Re: Existential Therapy: What Can Death Teach Us About Life?

    Relationship between meaning in life and death anxiety in the elderly: self-esteem as a mediator

    Results show that the dimensions of meaning in life, presence of meaning, search for meaning, and self-esteem were each negatively correlated with death anxiety...Path analysis indicated that self-esteem either completely or partially mediated the effects of meaning in life on death anxiety in older adults.

  4. #34
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    Re: Existential Therapy: What Can Death Teach Us About Life?

    On the extreme side:

    Existential narcissism: The characterological consequences of the modern American worldview - ProQuest

    The individual faced with the frightening realization of his separateness casts off dependency and asserts agency as a means to transcend his vulnerability and suffering. As this pursuit of agency meets some successes, its flame grows. However, the longed for liberation never comes, signs emerge that agency will not ultimately lead there, and doubt creeps in. Because the pursuit of agency emphasizes the separateness of the individual, the experience of existential isolation and vulnerability is greatly heightened. Letting go of the security blanket of agency, self-inflation, and hope for the promised land is terrifying and attempts become more desperate and extreme until the individual, and in our case the culture, comes to a breaking-point. The challenge entailed at this breaking-point involves confronting and resolving the conflict stemming from the reliance upon a narcissistically inflated sense of agency as a means to avoid human limitations, needs, and vulnerabilities. For an individual or a culture that has defined itself and found meaning in life through self-inflation, this challenge constitutes nothing short of an "ego death."
    Last edited by Daniel; November 9th, 2020 at 11:26 AM.

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