There are at least two forms of meaning that people seek: everyday meaning, which involves structuring the environment into a series of recursive patterns and expectancies, and ultimate meaning, which involves imbuing one's life with a sense of cosmic purpose. Terror management theory, rooted in the ideas of Ernest Becker, is better suited than other motivational accounts to explain why humans pursue ultimate meaning. According to the theory, people's awareness of their impending death compels them to attain ultimate meaning, because only if the self is seen as having a transcendent purpose can it be seen as in some sense immortal. The authors review a variety of experimental findings derived from TMT suggesting that the potential for death-related anxiety causes people to create and defend sources of both everyday and ultimate meaning.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The Experience of Meaning in Life|
|Subtitle of host publication||Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies|
|Number of pages||14|
|ISBN (Print)||9400765266, 9789400765269|
|State||Published - Jul 1 2013|
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