The Problem of Immortality: Terror Management Theory

'Self-portrait with Death Playing the Fiddle' by Arnold Böcklin Fine Art Images/Heritage/Getty

Humans are haunted by death. It awaits us all with open arms and all we can do is dream of its blissful antithesis: immortality. And so we've constructed a fortress of ideas to protect us against the terror of impermanence: astral bodies, bodily resurrection, reincarnation and the immaterial soul. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss the Terror Management Theory, which holds that fear of death and the quest for immortality command every facet of our lives. Discover how reminders of mortality affect or personal ethics and decision making, from the cash register to the voting booth.

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Topics in this Podcast: psychology, human condition, immortality, death