Ernest BeckerDr. Ernest Becker, a cultural anthropologist and interdisciplinary scientific thinker and writer, came to the realization that psychological inquiry inevitably comes to a dead end beyond which belief systems must be invoked to satisfy the human psyche. The reach of such a perspective consequently encompasses science and religion, even to what Sam Keen suggests is Becker's greatest achievement, the creation of the science of evil. Because of his breadth of vision and avoidance of social science pigeonholes (given the independence of his thinking in the 60s), Becker was an academic outcast in the last decade of his life. It was only with the award of the Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for his book, Denial of Death (two months after his own death from cancer at the age of 49) that his enormous contributions began to be recognized. The second half of his magnum opus, Escape from Evil (1975) developed the social and cultural implications of the concepts explored in the earlier book and is an equally important and brilliant companion volume.
Over the past 2 decades a trio of experimental social psychologists has amassed a large body of empirical evidence substantiating the universal motive of death denial as advanced by Becker. The highly topical and jargon-free account of that work is now in print "In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror by Pyszczynski, Solomon and Greenberg. (American Psychological Association Press, 2003).
Many scholars in many fields are studying, teaching, researching and writing about the works of Ernest Becker. A collection of essays by 28 specialists and generalists in some 26 disciplines, all influenced by Becker, is now published as "Death and Denial: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Legacy of Ernest Becker," edited by Daniel Liechty. (Praeger, 2002).
The Ernest Becker Foundation, www.ernestbecker.org, is devoted is devoted to multidisciplinary inquiries into human behavior, with a particular focus on violence, using Becker's Birth and Death of Meaning (1971), his Pulitzer Prize-winning Denial of Death and its companion Escape From Evil, to support research and application at the interfaces of science, the humanities, social action and religion.
All of the above information is from the EBF website and used by permission.
They give the gist of Dr. Becker's thinking much better than I could. The only thing that I would add is that no one reads Becker without their world view changing. Becker explains why we do what we do in graphic and accessible terms. One cannot help developing a a new understanding of the evil that exists in our world and a determination to change themselves so that they no longer unconsciously contribute to it.