Latest Issue

Let’s talk about death

According to a new book, the fear of mortality underlies everything we do

By Jonathan Derbyshire  

“To live fully is to live with an awareness of the rumble of terror that underlies everything.”

—Ernest Becker

In the mid-1980s, three young American psychologists—Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski—delivered a paper at the annual meeting of the Society of Experimental Psychology. Their subject was “terror management theory,” a notion they’d developed from their deep and enthusiastic study of a book that had won a Pulitzer Prize a decade before: Ernest…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect