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Flight from Death


Flight from Death (2003) is a documentary film that investigates the relationship of human violence to fear of death, as related to subconscious influences. The film describes death anxiety as a possible root cause of many human behaviors on a psychological, spiritual, and cultural level.Flight from Death is a seven-time Best Documentary award-winning film.

The film’s purpose is to investigate humankind’s relationship with death, and is heavily influenced by the views of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker. In addition to interviews with a number of contemporary philosophers, psychiatrists and teachers such as Sam Keen, Robert Jay Lifton, Irvin Yalom, Merlyn Mowrey and Daniel Liechty, the film introduces the viewer to a group of social psychologists, who conduct research in support of what they call Terror management theory (terror in this case not being terrorism, but rather emotional and psychological reaction to mortality awareness). Over the last twenty-five years, proponents of terror management theory have conducted over 300 laboratory studies demonstrating that subtle reminders of death on a subconscious level motivates a statistically significant number of subjects to exhibit biased and xenophobic type behaviors, such as gravitating toward those who they perceive as culturally similar to themselves and holding higher negative feelings and judgments toward those they perceive as culturally dissimilar to themselves.