Academia Română, filiala Iaşi Romanian Academy, Iaşi Branch
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3-4 / 2011
The Thanatophobic Zeitgeist. An Interdisciplinary Approach
It has been said, many times and in various interpretative registers, that modern society is thanatophobic and death has become the greatest taboo of our age. Philippe Ariès, probably the most famous transgressor of this taboo, bitterly claimed that, overwhelmed by the mystery of death and by her fatal omnipotence, scientists have preferred to ignore it, being silent “like any human being and like the humans that they study”. However, an approach, not necessarily more objective but rather interdisciplinary and retrospective, allows us to notice that, sometimes before and sometimes concomitantly to Aries, other thinkers, from various disciplines, have sharply raised the issue of mortality denial in modern age. The hereby study shall critically explore the arguments submitted by authors such as S. Freud, P.-L. Landsberg, G. Gorer, N. Elias et alii, to support the statement that the modern Zeitgeist is a thanatophobic one, generating a troubling existential entropy, for individuals as much as for the whole society.
Keywords: death, denial, zeitgeist, thanathophobic, individualization
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