Ernest Becker 8: The Logic of Sacrifice


Yesterday, I posted a note on one my own denial project. keeping busy. I have others, some idiosyncratic and some cultural that I share with you and just about everybody else in our world. I’m not exceptional nor am I immune from immortality-projects like nationalism and money. Sacrifice is the subject of this blog post. We’re constantly asked to make sacrifices to ensure the flow of prosperity. What’s that all about? Read on.

Roger Albert - Always a Sociologist

Ernest Becker 8: The Logic of Sacrifice

 How many times have we heard our government tell us that we have to make sacrifices now so that we can have prosperity in the future.  Sacrifice usually means putting off gratification now for pleasure and prosperity later.  Becker, along with his special ‘informants’ like Hocart, understood the nature of sacrifice.  In EFE Becker dedicates part of Chapter 1 to sacrifice.  It’s critical to his whole argument.  He writes:

 At the centre of the primitive technics of nature stands the act of sacrifice, which reveals the essence of the whole science of ritual.  In a way, we might see it as the atomic physics of the primitive world view…If he does things [performs the ritual ceremony] exactly as prescribed, as the gods did them in the beginning of time, then he gets control over the earth and creation.  He can put vigor…

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