Ernest Becker1 concluded his passionate psychotheological synthesis of the denial of death by casting doubt on whether a victory over human limitation could ever be programmed by science. “Who knows what form the forward momentum of life will take in the time ahead or what use it will make of our anguished searching,” he said. “The most that any one of us can seem to do is fashion something—an object or ourselves—and drop it into the confusion, make an offering of it, so to speak, to the life force.”2

I recall sitting at the desk in my home office in Philadelphia meditating on these words the first time I read them in 1973. At the time I had no idea how profoundly transformative this book would be for me, how I would become one...

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