Ernest Becker Quote

The Denial of Death  had a significant  impact on me when I read it more than 20 years ago. I came across a quote from it as I was cleaning out my things:Image result for Ernest Becker image

“This, after all is said and done, is the only real problem of life, the only worthwhile occupation of man: What is one’s true talent, his secret

Image result for Ernest Becker imagebeckerdownloadgift, his authentic vocation? In what way is one truly unique, and how can he express his uniqueness , give it form, dedicate it to something beyond himself? How can the person take his private inner being, the great mystery that he feels  at the heart of himself,  his emotions, his yearnings, and use them to live  more distinctively, to enrich both himself and mankind with the peculiar quality of his talent?”

But he also wrote, “Creation is a nightmare spectacular taking place on a planet that has been soaked for hundreds of millions of years in the blood of all its creatures.” (p 282)  Makes you think, huh?

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
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2 Responses to Ernest Becker Quote

  1. Sautee Barb says:

    It is hard for an ordinary person to see themselves living up to the grandeur of such thoughts. But a shame to give up entirely.

    Like

    • Nan Mykel says:

      It’s a mind-blowing book and took me months of continuous reading (as in very few pages a night); a seminal book. I can’t go into detail more because when the men laid new carpet I climbed a “safe” step ladder and transferred most of the contents of my bookcase up atop the kitchen cabinets and haven’t brought them down yet.
      It’s clear that Becker isn’t addressing only intellectuals, but those who take the time to look inward to discover or become more aware of what combination of positive urgings he/she can inculcate in order to offset the experience and acceptance of the limited lifespan.
      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

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