Man - an anguished being? Could it be that the knowledge of his own mortality is the unseen but possibly decisive motivating force behind human action?
The philosopher Martin Heidegger spoke of “being unto death,” referring to our fear of non-being. If we – in contrast to the animals – unconsciously act out of a fear of transience and loss of ego, as if we have to continually emphasize our importance and assure ourselves of our own importance? According to the so-called “Terror Management Theory,” man constantly strives for self-worth and meaning to compensate for this unconscious fear. He seeks and finds emotional security by creating a collective worldview – a cultural value system in which he feels safe and which protects him from the terror of finitude.
The Desire for More Life
The more traditional values and the religions with their ideas about life after death lose importance, the more “worldly” standards of value take over the role of comforting the soul: possessions, status, money... Moreover, modern man looks for distraction by events, media, consumer or social networks. And some seek support in radical groups, in nationalism or racism. So greed “for more life” is becoming a symptom of anxiety in an increasingly meaningless society. It seems as if we have been seized by a panic, a panic that we’re always missing out...