18 Becker, TMT, and Existentialist Video Resources

Cathryn van Kessel

Check out these videos to learn more about Ernest Becker and terror management theory, as well as other existential ponderings!


Mother Forkin’ Morals with Todd May: Existentialism

Dr. Todd May, Professor of Philosopher explains existentialism and existential crises in relation to the TV show, The Good Place (4:11).


Speculations on Ahuman Existentialism: Educational (Im)possibilities with Cathryn van Kessel

In the context of climate catastrophe, homo sapiens are called upon to face their precarious situation. Given that human animals experience precarity in highly different ways from each other and that other species are also facing extinction, we ought to consider more helpful (or, at a minimum, less harmful) ways of existing on the planet. One aspect of this task is to decentre assumptions of human exceptionalism and reduce harmful human defensive compensatory reactions–to consider human creatureliness and limitedness through a monstrous hybrid of existentialist thought and ahuman approaches mutated from fields such as philosophy and social psychology, among others.



The Philosophy of Darth Vader

Wisecrack summarizes Becker and relates his ideas to Darth Vader (12:30).

Existential Bummer

How do we life live, knowing that we will die (2:53)?

Grave Matters lecture by Sheldon Solomon

Lecture by Sheldon Solomon, PhD, Professor of psychology at Skidmore College and co-author of The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life (1:26:16).

4 stories we tell ourselves about death

In this TED talk, Stephen Cave talks about ways we strive for symbolic and literal immortality (15:53).

Think you can cheat death by eating and living well? In this darkly funny video, College Humor shows us how everything will kill us (2:57).

The Death Problem

Stephen Cave lecture

Whether physically, spiritually or perhaps through a legacy, philosopher Stephen Cave discusses how the relentless quest to live forever has influenced and shaped civilization since the dawn of humankind (51:42).

Academy of Ideas–Ernest Becker and heroism

In this lecture The Academy of Ideas investigates what Ernest Becker called the universal urge to heroism. We look at the different ways Becker proposed individuals strive for heroism, and introduce what he called genuine heroism (9:23).

The Human Condition

Jason Silva on the Human Condition, inspired by Ernest Becker (2:41).

Ernest Becker and the Death Problem

In this lecture The Academy of Ideas looks at the 20th century cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker’s ideas regarding how the fear of death haunts the human being, shaping one’s experience of reality. We look at how Becker thought individuals alleviate this fear by striving to live meaningful and significant lives (8:49).



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The Grim Educator Copyright © 2019 by Cathryn van Kessel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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