Sources of Significance

Sources of SignificanceWinner of “Best Book Award” presented by the Philosophy of Communication Division of the National Communication Association, 2011

Winner of the Media Ecology Association’s 2012 Erving Goffman Award

“…extending some important strains of his previous award-winning work, Selfhood and Authenticity (2001) …Anton breaks new ground by bringing the works of Ernest Becker, Kenneth Burke and Hans Jonas into resolute dialog, allowing each to interpret and extend the other. What emerges is a truly original perspective, emphasizing the universality in human affairs of ‘natural guilt’ and the various avenues provided by culture for its expiation.” —Daniel Liechty, Illinois State University, is Vice President of The Ernest Becker Foundation

“Deluding ourselves as self-made, denying death by ritual or cultural means (today by accumulating money and things), we fail to recognize the sources of our being and therefore to live graciously.. . Like Stoics whose physics and metaphysics were hardly incidental to their ethics, Anton ontologically grounds this diagnosis in logos and the cosmos before moving to his ethical prescriptions.” —Richard H. Thames, Duquesne University, associate professor in Communication and Rhetorical Studies

“Corey Anton is an intellectual everyman, and everyman’s intellectual. His tours through the familiar always yield the unexpected, and his journeys to the esoteric end up feeling like long voyages home.” —Douglas Rushkoff, author, Life Inc., Media Virus!, and Program or Be Programmed

Sources of Significance confronts consumer capitalism and religious fundamentalism as symptoms of death denial and degenerated cultural heroisms. Advancing and synthesizing the ideas of Ernest Becker, Kenneth Burke, Hans Jonas, Erving Goffman, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Epictetus, this multidisciplinary work offers a sustained response and corrective. It outlines heroisms worth wanting and reveals the forms of gratitude, courage, and purpose that emerge as people come to terms with the meaning of mortality.

Corey Anton opens a contemporary dialogue spanning theism, atheism, agnosticism, and spiritualist humanism by re-examining basic topics such as language, self-esteem, ambiguity, guilt, ritual, sacrifice, and transcendence. Acknowledging the growing need for theologies that are compatible with modern science, Anton shows how today’s consumerist lifestyles distort and trivialize the need for self-worth, and he argues that each person faces the genuinely heroic tasks of contributing to the world’s beauty, harmony, and resources; of forgiving the cosmos for self-conscious finitude; and of gratefully accepting the ambiguity of life’s gifts

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