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Lecture 8

PSY336H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Eric Fromm, Sudo, Collectivism

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Dan Dolderman

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Be the master of your will and the servant of your conscious – Maria Von Ebner-Eschenbach
We cannot let the terrorists frighten our nation to the point where we can’t conduct business,
where people don’t stop. Mrs Bush & I want to encourage Americans to go shopping – G. Bush
What is the meaning of life? – what are you looking for
Subjective – differs per person … vitality – what wakes you up and makes you feel
oWhat does the meaning of my life relate to the meaning of others’ life
What is missing?
Meaning of life provides value to life – carries you over from struggles of life
What brings a feeling of meaning into your life?
You know what makes you feel like life is worthwhile – this level of meaning is tractable
and solvable
Openness & Unfinishedness (experiential path to meaning vs. a more meaning based path
(certainly...the right way etc)
When people are searching for the meaning of life, there’s a mix of understanding.
Meaning come and go, it’s fairly universal and there’s this two level search, personal vs.
framework (what’s right and what’s wrong). What is the meaning of my life vs. what is the
meaning of “life”.
What brings you to feel life is worth awhile: you have different moments.
Meaning of life: Personal experience vs. philosophy
Meaning is the imposition (something we impose) of the stable (doesn’t change much)
conception (an understanding, a theory) to ever changing biological reality.
Give you the eternity answer
Have the meaning framework

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People who believe in certain religion and if their religion is taken away. People will be
left in the meaning crisis.
Personal journey and experiences can create meaning crisis. We don’t have eternity answer
Some people, religion can serve the value of their life meaning.
Beliefs – (in anything, themselves, their nation, their ideology) relatively stable conceptions that
we can impose onto the chaotic world we live in and they provide a semblance of meaning
What do you do if certain believes are threaten?
People develop believes and own self concept. Believes is stable to conception and if it
threaten one’s believe, people become lost.
Bechker before terror-management theory: culture is supernatural, all culture have same goal.
The Self-Concept = why did we create this concept and believe in it so much and identify with it
Everything cultural is fabricated and given meaning by the mind – a meaning not given
by physical nature
oCulture is in this sense supernatural – and all have the same goal – to raise men
above nature and to assure them that their lives count more than merely physical
things count
oBy seeking certainty through a meaning system – you are always left with the
meaning system
Terror-management theory:
Why do ppl need self-esteem? – helps us get through life, figuring ourselves out acting
according to our beliefs, values…unless something comes along to threaten the self
The Idea people are keen to motivate high self esteem. Why do we have this thing call
self or self-concept? Why do people need self esteem? Self help us get through life,
understand one’s purpose. Underneath the self is the eternity question, we create self-
esteem, a protective shield a design to protect the horror that’s underneath (Sun is
dying). Despite the awareness of mortal fate, people carry on by this self-esteem shield.
oThe possibility of the truth that we humans are merely transient animals (this is
the threat) groping to survive in a meaningless universe
oThis self and the drapery that comes with the self (your titles, your beliefs) allows
us to survive  doesn’t quite get down to the eternity question though
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