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Tip: To sort articles by year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Kaur, G. (2017). Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How it Drives Civilization by Stephen Cave New York: Crown publishers, 2012.. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 14(4):310-311.

(2017). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 14(4):310-311

Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How it Drives Civilization by Stephen Cave New York: Crown publishers, 2012.

Review by:
Gurmehr Kaur

It is one of the human condition's greatest ironies that while we cannot imagine our death, we are all certain of its inevitability. Death is one of the few guarantees of life, a prospect that causes significant anxiety. In a variety of diverse societies, humanity's response to this fear is to propagate a belief in and desire for immortality and permanence. Many cultures throughout history have proposed legends or myths to help people cope with death anxiety. For example, in the Hindu religious beliefs, the legend of Markandey provided hope for eternality. Markandey's parents prayed to Shiva for a male child. Shiva gave them the option of a gifted child who would die young, or a simple child who would have a long life. His parents chose to have a gifted child and thus Markandey was destined to an early death. However, as Markandey grew, he became a devoted worshiper of Shiva. So when Yuma, the god of death, came to collect him, Shiva fought Yuma off and granted Markandey eternal life for his devotion. Similarly, in the Christian religion, God grants devoted worshipers eternal salvation and happiness. Jesus “instructeth the young man how to attain eternal life … and promiseth reward to those that forsake any thing to follow him” (Matthew 19:16-27, The Holy Bible: The New King James Version, 2009).

Stephen Cave explores a variety of myths, including those from Hinduism and Christianity, and delineates four major narratives used by society to alleviate death anxiety in his 2012 book Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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