Ernest Becker's Educational Legacy: A Critical Reflection

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute
The author reviews the literature in professional education that cites Ernest Becker’s work from the 1960s-70s. Some of Becker’s main ideas from his own writing on education are also reviewed. The purpose here is to establish a sketch, not a full-study, of the importance of Becker’s educational legacy and begin some critique of the biases of professional educators in regard to utilizing Becker’s work. This critical reflectivity is an appropriate model of Becker’s own integrative approach to knowledge and learning. The aim is to ensure that future applications may be cautious to certain reductive tendencies and offer more diverse perspectives that are truer to Becker’s oeuvre and core ideas about human behavior and societies in general, and education specifically. The author concludes that the future of Education, formal and informal, would do well to take a long serious look at Becker’s work, especially as the world’s children, youths and adults are is becoming more and more vulnerable to frightening conditions, with cascading collapse of systems, including extinctions of all kinds already well underway in an era of global threats nearing extremes. Becker’s oeuvre is both realistic and idealistic, offering Education a way to radically improve to help make for a better world.
Ernest Becker, Otto Rank, Ken Wilber, futures education, evil, schooling, fear education, fearlessness, existential philosophy
Fisher, R. M. (2020). Ernest Becker’s Educational Legacy: A Critical Reflection. (Technical Paper No.99). In Search of Fearlessness Research Institute.