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Lethal consumption: Death-denying materialism

Lethal consumption: Death-denying materialism

Lethal consumption: Death-denying

8 LETHAL CONSUMPTION: DEATH-DENYING MATERIALISM SHELDON SOLOMON, JEFF GREENBERG, AND THOMAS A. PYSZCZYNSKI Modern man is drinking and drugging himself out of awareness, or he spends his time shopping, which is the same thing. —Ernest Becker, The Denied of Death Humans are by nature consumers. This book, although published on recycled paper, is a product of the consumption of trees; it is up to you— the reader—to decide whether the tome in its entirety, or this chapter in particular, is worth the timber or the energy used to recycle it. Yet, before we burden ourselves with too much lumbering guilt about that, we should recognize that all living organisms are consumers. Plants "consume" nutrients from the soil and photosynthesize solar energy; herbivores derive their sustenance by consuming the plants; carnivores and omnivores in turn consume the herbivores and other carnivores. Humans are thus of necessity consumers; this is natural and should be seen as such. However, from the birth of "civilization" 10,000 or so years ago, as we moved from small groups of semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers to permanent town dwellers primarily dependent on agriculture and domesticated animals for our livelihood, humans have been obsessively preoccupied with conspicuous 127

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