New academic blog post on our relationship with death and sustainability

Gábor Király, the scientific director of our research group, and Alexandra Köves, associate professor at the Corvinus University of Budapest, published a post on the academic blog Kontrapunkte of the Hochschule für Philosophie München. In the post, the researchers link the daily reminder of the most possibly deadly horrors of the climate change to the Western societies’ relationship to death.

Citing Becker, and drawing on Greenberg and Solomon’s terror management theory, Köves and Király conclude that people when superficially reminded of the possibility of their own death and the destruction of the entire planet, resort to social status-enhancing acts, such as shopping sprees and shopping malls, as a defence mechanism. This, in turn, leads to a vicious circle, since endless consumption reinforces and sustains the very system that leads to climate catastrophe. The researchers claim that the solution to this vicious circle is to create a virtuous circle. In the virtuous circle through transcendence management and meaningful death-related trauma processing we could change the way Western societies think about death and create an internal discourse on death that does not lead us to flee to the malls.

The blog post is available in English here.