ANXIETY | Sheldon Solomon | DocFilm | DW | 12.09.2016
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ANXIETY | Sheldon Solomon

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?

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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...

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