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Keywords:

  • Ernest Becker;
  • curriculum reform;
  • death denial;
  • motivation theory;
  • psychoanalysis;
  • social sciences;
  • Terror Management Theory

Ernest Becker's theory about death denial is one example of depth psychological theory. Because very important features of Becker's theory have now successfully and singularly met the rigorous empirical testing of Terror Management Theory (TMT), it must be concluded that the theory of death denial stands apart from and above alternative depth psychological theories in explaining human behavioral and attitudinal motivation. Nevertheless, TMT only touches the surface of Becker's theory in the round. This essay looks at how Becker's wider theories of death denial are applied to (1) personal psychological, (2) social psychological, (3) political, and (4) spiritual aspects of human experience and suggests that what Becker has given us is an organizing principle, a theory of considerable integrative, explanatory, and interpretive power, for a broadly interdisciplinary social science of human behavior.