James W. Carey Memorial Lecture - Dr. Sheldon Solomon

Dr. Sheldon Solomon

Date and Time

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 7:00 PM


Join Us for the 4th Annual James W. Carey Memorial Lecture
Featuring: Dr. Sheldon Solomon (Skidmore College)

Afraid of the Dark: Humanity at the Crossroads
According to cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, the uniquely human fear of death has a pervasive effect on human beings' thoughts, feelings, and behavior. 

Humans manage the terror of death by adhering to culturally constructed beliefs about reality that provide a sense that one is a person of value in a world of meaning, and thus eligible for either literal or symbolic immortality.  The quest for immortality underlies some of humankind’s most noble achievements.  However, it also engenders some of our most ignominious affectations, including: hostility and disdain for people with different beliefs; indifference to, or contempt for, the natural environment; and, the mindless pursuit of material possessions—which, if unchecked, may render humans the first form of life responsible for their own extinction.  Dr. Solomon will provide an overview of Becker's ideas and empirical work, and conclude by pondering the implications of these ideas for individual and social behavior.  Questions and answers with the audience will follow.

The Communication Studies Major Program, PSI CHI Psychology Honors Society, the Psychology Department, the School of Communications, the Institute of General Semantics, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Provost’s Office proudly present an evening of thought-provoking inquiry.


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