Bryn graduated from Claremont McKenna College with B.A in psychology in 2016. She conducts social emotional research the is primarily focused on how humans’ awareness of their own death influences legal decision-making and also health-related behavior. Bryn is the communications Coordinator in ~ The Ernest Becker Foundation. She background in research and also social justice initiatives have granted her a passion for the real-world applications of Becker’s work and also legacy.

You are watching: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death harry potter

After reading the last page of J.K rowling Harry Potter series, that felt together though mine childhood had ended with clouds that smoke, tears and heroics, the shock that mortality, and bittersweet smiles. It was invariably poignant farming up v Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they combated dark wizards and teen angst, and I long for the magical people Rowling revealed to us. The finale that the series, however, opened up the door to one more unexpected world: the duty of death in life. Mortality is a driving force behind rowling’s characters’ actions, and I couldn’t assist consider whether fatality exerts a comparable influence over non-magical humans. This resulted in the unpreventable Google search: ‘how do humans attend to the fear of death?’ and my discovery of Ernest Becker.

Art by Bryn Bandt-Law

As we know, humans are distinctive in our capacity to meaningfully contemplate our very own mortality. This awareness disputes with the human being evolutionary drive for survival and creates the potential for debilitating anxiety. Becker proposed the this stress and anxiety motivates world to construct and also invest in social belief solution that bring life meaning. These belief systems decrease fatality anxiety by providing individuals’ self-esteem and also the sense that castle are component of something that symbolically transcends death. Becker additionally argued the humans’ require for self-esteem and definition due to fatality anxiety drives the truly vicious and evil action of human behavior. V this context, analysis Becker’s work lugged forth a nuanced interpretation of harry Potter and also the function that fatality plays in the series. In spite of fictional witches and also wizard’s miracle abilities, it seems that mortality influences them in the same means as it does people in the real world. The etymology the antagonist mr Voldemort’s name (in French ‘Vol de mort’ means ‘flight from death’) provides insight into an integral ingredient of his character: his fear of mortality. Ernest Becker’s perspective on existential stress can provide insight into exactly how Voldemort’s are afraid of fatality drives his evil behavior.Voldemort subdues his are afraid of death in the symbolic realm through his constructed belief in hierarchies based on the magical composition of one’s blood. The leading group is purebloods, who descend from lengthy lines the witches and wizards. Muggle-borns space witches and wizards v no wonder blood, and also are the inferior group. Voldemort is a vehement support of the agenda to purify the blood the Wizards by remove Muggle-borns and also restoring pure-blood dominance over the Wizarding community. This agenda is what Becker calls an “immortality project:” the effort to subdue fatality anxiety through symbolically transcending death. His blood-purification campaign, with the subjugation that Muggle-borns, sponsor him self-esteem. It also grants him the possibility to usage his dark powers to have actually a transformative, lasting impact on the Wizarding world. It is vital avenue through which the derives self-esteem, purpose, and a symbolic legacy as the most an effective dark magician of every time. This pursuit to symbolically transcend fatality is rooted in hate, oppression, and also violence, considerably demonstrating exactly how the fear of fatality can lead to evil behavior.

Lord Voldemort’s adherence to tyrannical cultural belief systems that assuage fatality anxiety illustrates the tenets of Becker’s approach of human being social behavior can be it was observed in literature. Characters in novels have the right to respond to the risk of mortality in comparable ways together humans. This lends itself to some amazing questions. Do authors unconsciously instill their personalities with symbolic defenses versus existential concerns? Does developing fictional characters that are meaningful and also valued gibbs in their people grant their creator a sense of self-esteem and significance? deserve to we uncover formerly unforeseen relationships in between death and human actions by examining book characters’ relationship to mortality? Rowling produced a human being so minutely imagine in terms of its history, rituals, and rules the it qualifies together an alternating universe. That is also utterly recognizable to its readers, a ar where death is inevitable, just as the is in our mortal world. Here, the mundane and also surreal coexist—spawning fervent evaluation and interpretation.


"To live totally is to live with an awareness of the rumble the terror that underlies everything." –Ernest Becker


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Dear EBF Family,

Thank girlfriend for your support and also engagement with the EBF.

Wow, what a year. 2020 lugged death right into our collective cultural consciousness much more than plenty of of us have actually experienced in ours lifetimes. Among the many an overwhelming things we’ve confronted in 2020 to be the death of ours beloved founder, Dr. Neil Elgee. Neil reached the peaceful finish of a an extremely full life in March, a pair weeks prior to his 94th birthday. Click right here to read some that the over 80 tributes we received celebrating Neil.

Neil’s biggest wish was that the EBF’s work-related continue, and also with the in mind us have developed a Neil Elgee fund to advance the work of the Ernest Becker Foundation. To kick off the fund, we room announcing a equivalent gift challenge with two really generous longtime EBF pendant in California that will complement your presents in honor of Neil up to $25,000. Please provide generously to assistance the EBF in this distinct moment.

Your donation will aid support some really exciting work. In spite of losing Neil, the EBF has flourished in 2020. Us received plenty of requests to speak on exactly how Becker’s work applies to the state of the world, including appearing on number of podcasts. We started providing fashionable webinars using Becker’s ideas to current events v the help of expert guest panelists. This webinars have actually attracted a strong and varied attendance including civilization from almost everywhere the world. Amongst this year’s webinars, us have focused on death anxiety’s function in our response to COVID-19, native cultures’ relationships to mortality, how mortality is manipulated in political campaigns, and other topics. Us will shortly announce ours 2021 webinar series.

Another silver lining that the present emphasis on remote work has been the ability to relocate forward v our initiative connecting human rights groups with researchers studying mortality. The score of these partnerships is to help organizations examine or become conscious of how death anxiety concerns their work, and also how they deserve to be an ext effective in your advocacy efforts with this knowledge. This year we lugged together researchers and also advocates to talk about such issues as total safety, sex trafficking, and reproductive rights. End the next year we mean to interact with much more organizations and help build their understanding of how death anxiety impacts their capability to persuade and influence change.

Thank friend again for her support. Please offer generously to respect Neil and assist build the EBF as it moves forward in a brand-new era through the help of the Neil Elgee Fund.

Deborah JacobsEBF President/Executive Director

Joe Biden: “Imagine”

Analysis by Nicolette Smith

Terror monitoring is offered in politics advertisements in order to guide the voter and use their unconscious thoughts to manipulate their methods of thinking. National politics tend to center around issues that threaten cultural values and are frequently related to social or physical fatality (Burke, Kosloff, & Landau, 2013). This create a many anxiety in the voter and also they look to mitigate the effect of this by looking in the direction of a political leader that is walking to protect their values. Politics ads aim to do just this by instilling are afraid in the voter, then showing exactly how the political candidate is walk to assistance their American values and mollify that fear.

Joe Biden’s “Character” 2020 political advertisement aims to sway the American people’s vote in his favor by making them unconsciously think around death. His choice strategy is based on Terror management Theory in order to invoke fear and also mitigate the anxiety around death that adheres to by showing Biden is invest in the same culturally-derived system of meaning. He starts turn off the advertisement with a black and also white picture of the White residence claiming: “It is said, in here, character matters.” In this opened shot, just the red flowers in former of the white house and also the American Flag have actually color. By emphasizing the shade red, it have the right to remind the viewer that war, death, blood, or danger. Then by having actually the next object presented in color be the American Flag sit behind the oval office desk, this can reinforce the values of the United says unconsciously in the voter, making them inquiry Donald Trump together the joined States’ President. The advertisement also offers the idea that there is a present Threat to the values of the joined States due to our politics leadership. The ad then reflects a picture of Trump at a Presidential rally pointing his finger and making an unpleasant facial expression. As soon as again, the only shade emphasized in this black and also white photo is red, which happens to it is in Trump’s tie. Next is one more black and also white photo of Biden in former of the American Flag, where once again the flag is the only thing in color. The narrator then claims “it’s in life where your character is formed.” This bring up death anxiety; the reminds the voter that their legacy and also what they do in life matters when they die. This image is likewise a ethereal manipulation of holy Longing because it is insinuating the Biden represents the American Values and it is appealing to our desire for transcendence and also connectedness. Over there are additionally social death Reminders throughout the advertisement by reflecting Biden offering money to a homeless man and also banners in the background that unconsciously activate think of death. Because that instance, in one photo, Biden is standing in former of a big cancer organization banner. The narrator throughout these images continues to talk about how character matters while reflecting Biden doing good deeds because that the community, wielding a potent one-two punch of death Reminders and also Holy Longing. This manages the voter’s anxiety due to the fact that it gives the feeling that Biden is someone that can provide connectedness, social hopes of the American people, and, ultimately, happiness. By reflecting that Biden is invested in the culture of the united States, it can sway the voter to pick him on choice day and begin to inquiry the legacy and social values the Donald Trump.


Burke, B. L., Kosloff, S., & Landau, M. J. (2013). Fatality Goes to the Polls: A Meta-Analysis that Mortality Salience effects on politics Attitudes. Political Psychology, 34, 183-200. Doi: 10.1111/pops.12005


Author Bio

Nicolette Smith will graduate from fort Lewis in 2020 with her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a boy in Pre-law and also Sociology & human being Services. She then wants to attend Arizona State university to obtain her master’s in society Work and also licensure, and also intern in ~ Crossroads Safe house as a Youth and Family advocate in fort Collins. Nicolette would favor to it is in the Safehouse manager and help families from multiple backgrounds, including residential violence victims, runaways, and also families that need financial assistance.

Joe Biden: “Imagine”

Analysis by Morgan Rutkowski

Since the beginning of the 1940s, political project ads have drastically readjusted the means in i m sorry U.S. Voters have end up being informed about the present Presidential nominees. Indigenous Truman’s 1948 advertisement showing that shaking hands with countless fans to Ronald Reagan’s attack on Jimmy Carter’s weak international policy agenda in the 1980s, political campaigns have to be transformed into bait, laced through deceptive mechanisms, to influence exactly how we decide to poll in each election—and now an ext than ever before before.

As the 2020 election approaches, most political advertisements have been rooted in Terror administration Theory (TMT), i beg your pardon postulates that self-consciousness, causing humans’ awareness of our own inescapable death, creates an immense amount the anxiety and terror. Therefore, candidates have capitalized on this are afraid by using fatality Reminders, hazards to our Values, cues the Apocalyptic Visions, and also Holy Longing in stimulate to get our politics support.

Of all the current campaign advertisements for the 2020 election, the pro-Biden ad, “Imagine,” is a solid exemplar of this principles. In ~ the first couple of words the this video, our mind is primed through the peaceful photos of a bustling city and also thriving farms. Biden then uses the reminder of holy Longing to attach us come the idea of progress to a photo of a baby—highlighting a time once we were young and also full of endless potential. Biden’s advertisement also employs Jonathan Haidt’s concept of Moral foundations (Haidt et al., 2009) if enacting death Reminders; in this specific ad, Biden activates the moral foundation of Harm, which research mirrors is very salient to liberals, v the fatality Reminder that hurting this infant in the destructive civilization created under the trumped administration.

Moreover, the video clip shares Biden’s assistance for an ext accessible health care for American citizens. This, potentially, pairs with our hazard of Values when it comes to our appropriate to have much better health, as it is connected to picture of seeing a sick human on a gurney in the hospital. It also touches top top the Haidt’s ethical value of same for every to have an equal access to healthcare, one more especially trenchant value for liberals.

Additionally, Joe Biden’s video plays on our cognitive schema of how a burning civilization can create a fatality Reminder and also lead come an anxiety-driven hesitation of our own demise. By see the impacts of climate change, we check out a cue of one Apocalyptic Vision that would certainly be hard to recoup from if us were to vote for trump in the upcoming election.

Finally, the campaign ad ends by showing how Biden will certainly “stand approximately the NRA” and also get “assault weapons out of ours schools.” together this is seen v a segment the happy kids walking through school halls, Biden unconsciously cues our threat to Values when it involves limiting our 2nd Amendment best to protect students in really hopes of reducing the fatality rates in American schools.

Overall, politics ads have adjusted in plenty of ways come ultimately aid us make a an ext informed decision in ~ the polls. However, this purpose has been objectively modified to manipulate our emotions, utilizing fear-mongering tactics, in order to scare us into voting because that someone that guarantees to reduce our unconscious fatality anxieties and help us feeling safer and protected throughout the next 4 years of their administration.


Burke, B. L., Kosloff, S., & Landau, M. J. (2013). Fatality Goes to the Polls: A Meta-Analysis of Mortality Salience results on politics Attitudes. Political Psychology, 34, 183-200. Doi: 10.1111/pops.12005

Burke, B. L., Martens, A., & Faucher, E. H. (2010). Two years of terror administration theory: A meta-analysis that mortality salience research. Personality & society Psychology Review, 14, 155-195.

Zaikin, V. A. (2017). Moral functioning: socio-psychological approach. Social intuitionist theory of man Haidt. Nacionalʹnyj Psihologičeskij Žurnal, 1(25), 32-38. Https://


Author Bio

Morgan Rutkowski will certainly graduate from ft Lewis university in 2021, where she doubled majored in political Science and also Psychology with a concentration in Forensic Science. During her university career, Morgan did research for her Political Science major concerning “Fearmongering.” The project articulated the ways in which the unified States government capitalizes top top people’s fears in stimulate to gain political power at the expense of our own civil rights. This research study earned she a ticket come Washington, D.C., in 2020 wherein she presented at the national Political scientific research Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha, at the 7th yearly National Student research study Conference. Morgan attended ar School in Clinical Psychology at the facility “Gateway come Success” in Pueblo, Colorado, whereby she functioned with the neighborhood offender populace while aiding in client intakes, cognition and also domestic violence classes, and outpatient groups for patients transitioning out of the State mental Hospital.

Donald Trump: “Changing Things”

Analysis by Britt Blomso and Charlie Kaiser

In a recent political advertisement, Donald trump showed exactly how he was changing things come “Make American great Again.” The creators that the “Changing Things” advertising used specific manipulation techniques obtained from Terror administration Theory to try to guide American voters that Donald trump is the right man for a 2nd term.

Perhaps most obvious in this specific campaign is the strategy the the sacredness the one’s culture. Trump functions to elevate his hard guy society while degrading the the opposite by referring to them as “The Swamp.” The Swamp is shown as the adversary through darker lighting and also a voice over explaining that, since Democrats could not loss Trump, they currently seek to denigrate and also disparage him. This tactic simplifies the intricacy of the foe to zero, but also enforces the urgency of the instance at hand. Furthermore, the portrayal the The Swamp pushes the issue that the the contrary party endangers Americans’ very freedom due to the fact that they room trying to take under Trump. Because Trump has created fear in his followers, just he can safeguard them indigenous the “left” / Evil.

Another manipulation tactic the is supplied in this campaign is the idea of holy Longing. The advertisement concentrates on just how Trump is the only man who can “change Washington,” implying the idea of cultural heroism. Mirroring what he has done come secure ours borders and also create 6 million tasks plays directly into the American Dream, which has actually been completed through the eye of his supporters by his project creation and border security. This is of certain importance because voters want to think in your President, yet they also need to belong come something that will proceed to readjust our nation for the better. The idea of divine Longing also plays right into the idea the “social death:” among the much more terrifying thoughts for any kind of individual is the idea that failure, i m sorry is what social fatality implies. This ide plays right into the need for self-esteem—through jobs and also security—to cope v our death anxiety.

Due come the increased fatality anxiety bordering the united States, mortality salience causes individuals come cling to their culture, and look to uncover a leader who will tirelessly defend it. In this “Changing Things” advertisement, the is blatantly clear that Trump is connected with defending our country and also the “sacred” worths we hold. The video states that, “It bring away a difficult guy to adjust Washington; the takes Donald Trump.” This statement again indicates that that is changing Washington ago to what the civilization have wanted, and also what we have failed to see in current years. Through the video clip we watch that The Swamp cannot hold Trump down, and that no issue what they shot to execute to defeat him, the will always persevere. This is the leader castle want, this is the leader they require to defend them indigenous the terror of fatality – the cultural hero that emerges from The Swamp the tried no hope to organize him back.


Burke, B. L., Kosloff, S., & Landau, M. J. (2013). Death Goes to the Polls: A Meta-Analysis that Mortality Salience effects on politics Attitudes. Political Psychology, 34, 183-200. Doi: 10.1111/pops.12005


Author Bio

Britt Blomso will certainly graduate from fort Lewis college in 2021 and wants to it is in a leader in Developmental and also Leadership Psychology wherein she will work diligently to create a standardized protocol because that college athletics and mental wellness with the nationwide Collegiate strong Association (NCAA). Britt’s initial interests were in sports performance psychology and how come motivate athletes to complete at the highest level. With her journey together a university athlete, she started to an alert and endure the gap between physical and mental health, and how one to be much an ext important to strong programs. Britt looks for to go after her master’s degree at the college of Oslo in Norway wherein she desires to work with the Women’s nationwide Soccer Team come implement mental wellness protocols that include mandated remainder days and also required counseling sessions.


Author Bio

Charlie Kaiser will graduate from fort Lewis university in 2021 and also wants to it is in a High college teacher that specializes in to teach life an abilities to student in topics such together fiscal responsibility, sexual education, healthy and balanced relationships, emotionally intelligence and also empathy, resiliency, and decision-making and also problem-solving. She desires to develop her own curriculum for the course she teaches ~ recognizing the void in life an abilities knowledge the members that the youth community have access. Charlie wants to go after her master’s degree in Social work from the university of California in ~ Berkley, and also work with victims of domestic violence at a shelter in Phoenix, Arizona. She likewise wants to coach women’s football at the High school where she teaches and put an emphasis on team strength, mental health, and resiliency within she players.

Joe Biden: “Who we Are”

Analysis by Charlie Kaiser and Britt Blomso

Terror monitoring theory claims that humans are mindful of our inescapable death, and to regulate our anxiety and also intense fear roughly this consciousness, we invest in producing cultures, belief systems, values, and worldviews which form a truth for united state that make united state feel safeguarded from this terror. This means that things prefer religion, education, fame, sporting activities (yes, also sports), and also politics are ways in which we manage our death anxiety. Return this solution can be helpful, over there are also times when this fear is manipulated to affect our actions and help an agenda that is not our own. Members that political campaigns are more than strategic as soon as making advertisements promoting their candidate and political agendas. Most commonly used are 4 terror management theory themes expected to evoke are afraid and action among viewers and also voters. According to a meta-analysis ~ above this theory, mortality salience plays a function in shaping political attitudes, as human being are an ext likely come cling to your preexisting worldviews once reminded that their fatality anxiety, even on one unconscious level (Burke et al., 2013). The following evaluation breaks down an instance of this manipulation through a political advertisement from Joe Biden.

In the Joe Biden “Who us Are” ad, the two most prevalent themes the terror management theory include manipulation through hazards to Values and also through death Reminders. Biden’s ad begins through uplifting music i beg your pardon alludes come the idea of divine Longing—a yearn for person connection and transcendence—but, as the ad continues, we watch riots in the street after viewing picture of Donald trumped speaking. This straight relates come Manipulation Through fatality Reminders, as our unconscious fear of death is triggered by the violent images of street rioting. Biden also claims the “If we give Donald trumped eight years in the presidency, he will certainly forever and also fundamentally adjust the personality of this nation,” which appeals come the terror administration theme of manipulation through hazards to our Values. The post in this part of the advertisement is clear—our current country is unsafe, made much more dangerous through the present political leadership (Donald Trump) and, if the “wrong” choice is make (in this instance voting because that Donald Trump), climate the possibilities of individual fatality increase greatly. Biden’s advertisement continues come evoke death anxieties through saying, “Our democracy, every little thing that has ever before made America, America is in ~ stake. We space in a fight for the heart of this nation, and also we need to remember that we are.” Creating and adhering to values and society are one significant way civilization manage your terror and statements choose these display a clear threat to America’s values and reality. Pictures of neighborhoods uniting room starkly juxtaposed with photos of trump card speaking and also the violence in street riots, point to the idea the the American soul (a prize of this worldview) will certainly be ruined by president Trump and therefore the is a threat to ours nation—and for this reason our cultural worldview. Positive photos like those of people in community and Biden hugging diverse groups of civilization send the blog post that Biden can protect the values if only individuals would do the “right” an option and poll for him.


Burke, B. L., Kosloff, S., & Landau, M. J. (2013). Death Goes come the Polls: A Meta-Analysis the Mortality Salience results on political Attitudes. Political Psychology, 34, 183-200. Doi: 10.1111/pops.12005

Author Bio

Charlie Kaiser will certainly graduate from fort Lewis university in 2021 and also wants to be a High college teacher who specializes in teaching life an abilities to student in object such together fiscal responsibility, sex-related education, healthy and balanced relationships, emotional intelligence and also empathy, resiliency, and also decision-making and also problem-solving. She desires to develop her very own curriculum for the course she teaches after ~ recognizing the space in life skills knowledge the members that the youth ar have access. Charlie desires to go after her master’s level in Social occupational from the university of California in ~ Berkley, and work with victims of domestic violence in ~ a sanctuary in Phoenix, Arizona. She additionally wants to coach women’s football at the High college where she teaches and also put an emphasis on team strength, psychological health, and also resiliency within she players.
Author Bio

Britt Blomso will graduate from fort Lewis college in 2021 and wants to be a leader in Developmental and Leadership Psychology where she will work-related diligently to develop a standardized protocol because that college athletics and mental health and wellness with the nationwide Collegiate athletic Association (NCAA). Britt’s early stage interests to be in sporting activities performance psychology and also how come motivate athletes to contend at the greatest level. Through her journey as a university athlete, she began to notice and experience the gap between physical and also mental health, and how one to be much more important to athletic programs. Britt seeks to seek her master’s degree at the university of Oslo in Norway whereby she desires to work-related with the Women’s nationwide Soccer Team to implement mental health protocols that encompass mandated remainder days and also required counseling sessions.

Donald Trump: “Changing Things”

Analysis by Kendra Keahbone and Ashley VanDenBerg

The political ad “Changing Things” sponsored by Donald J. Trumped lauds the alters he has actually made in search of fighting the left. The harshly voiced narrator strategically refers to the political left together ‘The Swamp’ and makes it appear as if that is a struggle of good vs Evil.

The two key terror management themes used within this political ad are danger to Values and Holy Longing. These 2 themes pat on the idea that Donald trump card is the right candidate to poll for in November. Firstly, the ad begins through stating “They couldn’t defeat him, so currently the swamp is make the efforts to take him out. National politics at that is worst.” The narrator that this advertisement is do the efforts to make viewers think that Donald trump card is the an excellent guy make the efforts to make changes, when ‘The Swamp’ is doing whatever in their strength to avoid these indigenous happening. The ad highlights Donald Trump shower hands v an American Soldier. In law this, lock are mirroring that trump is a guy who supports the military, i m sorry is a main point American value. The advertisement is make the efforts to display that the ‘swamp hates him,’ hence threatening viewers core American worths of supporting the military. Beyond the just depictions the Donald Trump gift the ‘good guy’ who is persistently being assaulted by the left, the advertisement also highlights the Trump is a “tough guy.” The advertisement states, “It take away a tough guy to readjust Washington,” indicating to viewers that Donald trump card is walk to administer protection and also be the ‘tough guy’ father-figure that America needs.

Furthermore, the second terror monitoring theme shown in this political ad is divine Longing. The director demonstrates holy Longing in this ad by appeal to viewers’ desire and longing for connectedness. The ad highlights images of civilization cheering at Trump rallies and also workers gathered to support Trump. These images depict a sense of community and also promote the idea that, if this viewers poll for Donald Trump, then they will certainly be a component of miscellaneous bigger than themselves—i.e., they will be connected to various other Trump supporters who share the very same American values. In this way, the advertisement strategically addresses viewers’ longing because that significance and self-esteem. Lastly, the narrator highlights that Donald trump is do changes. That is “fixing poor trade deals, creating six million new jobs, and securing ours borders.” come the viewer, this advertisement depicts the voting for Donald trumped will carry jobs, gaue won security, and also national security. Through using the holy Longing approach, it create a feeling of security and community that only voting because that Donald Trump will certainly bring.

The people hired to make these politics ads know exactly how to appeal to your audience; lock know just how to invoke fear in people through strategies such together threatening one’s values and also worldview. In addition, they know that making viewers feel a feeling of security and also significance through voting because that a details political candidate will assist them manage their fear. As soon as viewers room primed through the idea that death, lock are more likely to vote for a candidate who will do them feeling secure. Through making viewers think about death, they feeling this desire to it is in protected, which leads them to poll for charismatic conservative leaders (Burke, Kosloff, & Landau, 2013). In this case, voting for a ‘tough guy’ favor Donald trump card will carry the ultimate feeling of protection and security, for this reason resulting in successfully managing one’s terror of death.


Burke, B. L., Kosloff, S., & Landau, M. J. (2013). Fatality Goes come the Polls: A Meta-Analysis of Mortality Salience impacts on politics Attitudes. Political Psychology, 34, 183-200. Doi: 10.1111/pops.12005

Author Bio

Kendra Keahbone will certainly graduate from ft Lewis College through a B.A. In Psychology, Forensics, and also Criminology. She then wants to go after her M.A. In Forensic Psychology native California Baptist University, through an FBI internship. Complying with her master’s, she will look for her Ph.D. In Forensic Psychology.
Author Bio

Ashley VanDenBerg will certainly graduate from fort Lewis College through a B.A in Psychology, Criminology and also Forensics. She wants to job-related with the criminal justice system in search of various ways of rehabilitation. She likewise wants to job-related with the police department together a victim’s advocate. Ashley will then seek her M.A in Forensic Psychology indigenous the university of phibìc Dakota and, eventually, a doctor in Forensic Psychology in bespeak to come to be an professional witness.

Joe Biden: “We us Are”

Analysis by Ashley VanDenBerg and Kendra Keahbone

During choice years, ours televisions and radios room filled through political ads. Civilization who poll for the president have a feeling (which they may subsequently backfill through “logic” or “thought”) for who they think is the ideal president and also who is not. These ads are meant come sway people with death Reminders, Apocalyptic Visions, holy Longing, and Threats come Value. Both candidates have made sure to use this to strengthen your political agendas. Every these species of ads room extremely powerful ways to acquire voters to transition from one presidential candidate come another.

Joe Biden’s project has usage these themes come bolster his base and lure elevation voters. In particular, we have the right to see Apocalyptic Visions and Death Reminders. His ads are meant to display the terror that can be attracted from the republican party, particularly his opponent Donald Trump. The advertisement portrays Joe Biden in a bright light as if he is the Savior the has pertained to deliver us from Evil. Concomitantly, Donald Trump have the right to be seen through a darker light or looking an extremely aggressive and also terrifying. In Joe Biden’s “Who us Are” ad, he says “If we offer Donald trump card 8 years in the white house he will forever and fundamentally adjust the personality of this nation.” While he is saying this, a clip of white supremacists hold torches can be seen. This not so subtle picture is meant to strike fear in the heart of the viewer. As soon as they hear the surname Donald Trump your minds go to the people holding the torches and fighting one another, i beg your pardon is supposed to invoke terror and the notion that, if Donald trump card is elected, we will all die violently.

These political ads contain numerous subliminal message that are meant come instill fear and also heroism in the Presidential Candidate that it favors. For this ad, Joe Biden wants to be seen as the hero the will conserve America native the threat of Donald Trump. This ad definitely go its task in mirroring that the America Donald Trump bring is one filled with violence, terror, and death. Follow to the ad, Joe Biden will certainly make certain that his vision that America does not have actually this and also that we have the right to rest easy and vote for him as President.

Author Bio

Ashley VanDenBerg will certainly graduate from fort Lewis College v a B.A in Psychology, Criminology and Forensics. She desires to work with the criminal justice mechanism in pursuit of different ways of rehabilitation. She also wants to job-related with the police department as a victim’s advocate. Ashley will then look for her M.A in Forensic Psychology from the university of phibìc Dakota and, eventually, a doctor in Forensic Psychology in order to end up being an professional witness.
Author Bio

Kendra Keahbone will graduate from ft Lewis College with a B.A. In Psychology, Forensics, and also Criminology. She then wants to seek her M.A. In Forensic Psychology native California Baptist University, with an FBI internship. Adhering to her master’s, she will look for her Ph.D. In Forensic Psychology.

Joe Biden: “Imagine”

Analysis by Taylar Moorhouse

According to Terror administration Theory, “the advanced human abilities come think casually, come anticipate events that have actually yet to occur, and also to take it the self as things of attention provide rise to an awareness that the inevitability that death and also the ever present potential because that pain and also averse experience” (Greenberg et al., 1992).

The human ability to fear death and also terror has regulated individuals, organizations, and cultural groups in means we have actually never thought possible. Terror has the capability to attack and also amplify ours values, feelings of connectedness, and even our self-esteem unconsciously. We find that companies and other huge organizations use this fear to their advantage—and perhaps specifically our own U.S. Presidential Candidates.

Anticipating the inevitability of fatality is subtly yet firmly present in this Biden ad. Whereas Biden’s “Imagine” advertising does not straight show or remind united state of death, it rather illustrates and also invokes what we call “Holy Longing.” This term straight relates to something in Terror management Theory that explains symbolic immortality (Solomon et al., 2015). People who fear death compensate by trying to live and also survive v a purpose, such as by leave a legacy. This is the key idea this advertisement is pushing. We view hopeful photos of newborn children, smiling teenagers, and happy faces in addition to dialogue the conveys the a adjust needs to happen in order for a much better world to it is in possible, a world we want to leaving behind because that the following generation. Feelings of significance that are presented in this video clip also play right into this idea. Feeling significant and keeping self-esteem has been a substantial contributor to person terror monitoring processes (Solomon et al., 2015). This taps right into our simple human should feel connected and non-isolated. Community, public safety, and also common humanity are just a couple of things this advertisement is presenting the fuel this require for togetherness.

Another means in which politics candidates shot to unconsciously use the fear of death is via a threat to Values. In this ad, the is again not explicit yet rather implicit in the context. Biden attempts come garner assistance for his candidacy in this advertisement with an attack on one main point American value: gift the best. This advertisement directly contradicts this possibly subliminal American worth by showing exactly how the U.S. Is right now lacking its previous superiority. Biden says plainly in this ad that, in stimulate to it is in the finest (country), we have to make changes—and, the course, instilling the idea that he is the just one to lead us there. Reflecting blatant contradictions to these social values that many Americans prize have the right to be rather anxiety-provoking. This idea deserve to be explained further through Greenberg et al. (1992): “Likewise, the mere existence of human being with dissimilar world-views threatens the individuals belief in his or her own worldview, thereby undermining its efficiency as an anxiety buffer.”

Our 2020 presidential candidates have displayed us the solid influence the connectedness, self-esteem and protection the values have on voters v terror monitoring theory, based on Ernest Becker’s prescient monitorings that death haunts the human pet like naught else.


Greenberg, J., Simon, L., Pyszczynski, T., Solomon, S. & Chanel, D. (1992). Terror management and tolerance: walk mortality salience always intensify negative reactions come others who threaten one’s worldview? Journal the Personality and also Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.63.2.212

Solomon, S., Greenberg, J., & Pyszczynski, T. (2015). The Worm at the Core: ~ above the role of death in Life. brand-new York: random House.

Author Bio

Taylar A. Moorhouse will certainly graduate from fort Lewis college in Summer 2021 and wants to be an independent clinical counselor specializing in treatment for sexual attack survivors, problem abusers and also domestic violence survivors. After her undergraduate career, Taylar desires to go after her master’s level in college Counseling from north Arizona University, North sink campus. Her research study experience throughout her time in ~ NAU will be primarily focused on problem abuse and also treatment effectiveness, as well as looking deeper into the civilization of treatment for sexual offenders.

Donald Trump: two Americas

Analysis by Tyler Jimenez (University of Missouri)

“…what better way to create a nation into a unity, to take it everyone’s eyes turn off the frightening state of domestic affairs, 보다 by concentrating on a heroic foreign cause?”—Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil, p. 98

This advertisement for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign compares two theoretical American futures. The first, with Hillary Clinton as President and presented together “rigged against Americans”, is one in which illegal immigrant consume social defense benefits, and terrorists, implicitly linked to Syrian refugees, threaten the protection of daily Americans. The second, through Donald Trump together President, boasts secure (i.e. Closed) boundaries that keep the American world safe. The guiding blog post is simple; the addressing of domestic worries is as an easy as detaining, deporting, or otherwise punishing foreign out-group members. This is no a distinct strategy; though perhaps the most famous example of the political use of scapegoating is the blaming the the Jewish human being for problems challenged by interwar Germany, an ext recent targets incorporate China (Chen, 2010) and also African-Americans (Krugman, 2007). Why is this an approach so popular? An applications of Ernest Becker’s work-related to this blaming the American problems on illegal immigrants and also Syrian refugees reveals the is no a only rhetorical trick; scapegoating appeals to our deepest concerns about our visibility as an animal that has to die and also knows it.

In his masterful Escape from Evil, Becker applied the final thesis from The refusal of Death, the humans produce symbolic solution of meaning to allay existential stress and anxiety rendered by knowledge of unpreventable mortality (Becker, 1973), to the problem of human being evil. He merged Marxist materialism with psychoanalysis, in keeping with the legacy of the Frankfurt School, to come at an existential dialectic in which background unfolds as a collection of ‘workings out’ that existential concerns on others (Becker, 1975). Scapegoating is one together of this ‘workings out’. Before we get in also deep, let’s unpack Becker’s simple dynamic.

The acknowledgment of death’s inevitability creates anxiety. To control this anxiety, human beings construct and adhere to symbolic solution of meaning, or social worldviews, that carry out answers to the “big” inquiries of existence, e.g. Where did we come from? What is the correct method to live? What happens after death? These cultural worldviews also administer avenues because that self-esteem maintenance. Together, social worldviews and also self-esteem mitigate fatality anxiety by convincing world of their standing as contributing members to a symbolic, and also thus eternal, human being of value and meaning. So, even if physical fatality is inescapable, one might live on with contributions made to their culture (Becker, 1973). This, however, does not completely solve the fundamental problem, as “the terror of fatality still rumbles underneath the social repression” (Becker, 1975, p. 5). For this reason what go this ‘rumbling terror’ influence? enter scapegoating.

Here is Becker’s an easy explanation the scapegoating: guilt is projected top top the other to it is in destroyed. According to Becker and other existentialists, guilt develops from existential concerns such together the responsibility of self-creation, the loneliness and danger that individuality, and the limitations and also fate that an animal body (see his perceptive passage on the nature of guilt in Escape native Evil p. 32-37). These concerns arise native the heart of human existence and have been thusly labeling “ontological” (p. 35) and also “metaphysical” (p. 103); simply, guilt is an inherent component of person existence. Guilt is likewise a very abstract principle that must be concretized in stimulate to it is in managed. This is achieved by projecting personal guilt ~ above out-group members that have the right to then be destroyed, offering the human being power over death and also allaying their very own existential concerns.

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Recent social emotional experiments have exemplified this process in a nice way. Sullivan, Landau, & Rothschild (2010) uncovered that exposure to external threats increased attribution of affect to an opponent figure. In this experiment, and scapegoating in general, disparate dangers and anxieties are focused upon a single target, which deserve to be destroyed, and also the troubles “solved”. An additional study shown this grim conclusion; news the out-group deaths decreased anxiety adhering to an existential danger (Hayes, Schimel, & Williams, 2008). We deserve to now see why the usage of scapegoating in politics advertisements is for this reason widespread and effective; it mitigates the guilt and also anxieties the a conscious existence.