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Intro to Sociology (SLDI).docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Robert Brym

Intro to Sociology (Sociology as a Life or Death Issue) Chapter 1 (Sociology as a Life or Death Issue) A Detour  As kids we found death entertaining  Once we reached a certain age, we asked ourselves the question “why are we living if we are going to die anyway”?  After realizing questions about death cannot be answered , death is now an anxiety Denial  As a way to cope with the thought of death, we usually deny it  One way to cope with death is through Religion  Determinism – the belief that everything happens, because it was destined to be  Determinists believe we cant choose how to live, because greater forces control our life  Some people choose to believe that “submitting to the will of God , results in eternal life in heaven”  Another way we cope with death is trying to stay young (i.e. plastic surgery, diets, exercise, celebrating youthfulness)  We also devalue the elderly by sending them to retirement homes and hospitals  Voluntarism- the belief that we alone control our destiny  Voluntarist’s believe we can overcome forces larger than us and thereby make whatever we want of our lives A Trap  Denying death makes it harder to figure out how to live well as well as be happy, therefore it is a trap  The deterministic denial of death can make people truly unhappy, by giving them the ultimatum of eternal life by obeying certain rules  The voluntaristic denial of death can do the same by assuming our physical a
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