People think money gives immortality, study says - New York News

People think money gives immortality, study says

Updated:

By: Michael De Groote, Deseret News

Why do so many people spend what seems like an eternity at work? According to Stephen Cave, they think making money will make them immortal.

Cave, the author of "Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization," wrote about this in an article on Time.com. Why do people work so hard at work?

"The answer might surprise you: because you believe it will make you live forever," Cave writes. "You might not think you believe this - you might even find the idea absurd. You might argue that the extra money will bring you freedom, or security, or expensive toys. If you're a little more psychologically savvy, you might say a higher salary will earn you social status or self-esteem."

But deep down, it is really about immortality.

Cave refers to a new study in the "Journal of Economic Psychology" that came up with these conclusions:

  • "People reminded of death overestimate the physical size of money."
  • "People reminded of death use higher monetary standards to define somebody as rich."
  • "People reminded of death desire higher compensation for forgoing the immediate payment."
  • "People primed with money report lower fear of death."
Cave says in his Time article: "We are not rational decision makers when it comes to our finances, dispassionately calculating profit and loss. Instead our judgment is continually distorted by deep-seated associations and anxieties. And the most powerful of these is existential angst, the ever present fear of doom."

We work and we buy in hope that working and buying will give us eternal life.

A review of Cave's book on immortality appeared in the Economist in 2012 and says, "Cave's repeated claim that the quest for immortality drives every human activity feels overdone."

In a New York Times Sunday Review article, Cave says, "So far, (multiple studies) consistently support a thesis - known as Terror Management Theory - that particular aspects of our outlook are governed by our need to manage our fear of death. In other words, our cultural, philosophical and religious systems exist to promise us immortality."

Everything we do that seems worthwhile is done to pursue eternal life.

This is why Cave says it would be awful if people really never died.

"Suddenly, we would have nothing to do," he writes, "yet in the greatest of ironies, we would have endless eons in which to do it. Action would lose its purpose and time its value. This is the true awfulness of immortality."

Or, in other words, we would be bored. Which may sound a lot like people's jobs.

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @degroote

Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote


Original Post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • MTA, union reach deal for transit workers

    MTA, union reach deal for transit workers

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:09 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:09:38 GMT
    Transit officials and the union representing about 34,000 city subway and bus workers reached a tentative contract deal that would include raises and new benefits but require higher health insurance payments, both sides and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
    Transit officials and the union representing about 34,000 city subway and bus workers reached a tentative contract deal that would include raises and new benefits but require higher health insurance payments, both sides and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
  • Dance raves for kids at NYC's hot clubs

    Dance raves for kids at NYC's hot clubs

    Thursday, April 17 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:21:39 GMT
    A dance party for kids and tweens looks like a rave or perhaps a wild night at the club. But actually, many of the people at this party probably just learned how to tie their shoes. Twin brothers Tyler and Tristin recently had a FUZIPOP party in Manhattan to celebrate their 10th birthday. Never heard of a FUZIPOP party?
    A dance party for kids and tweens looks like a rave or perhaps a wild night at the club. But actually, many of the people at this party probably just learned how to tie their shoes. Twin brothers Tyler and Tristin recently had a FUZIPOP party in Manhattan to celebrate their 10th birthday. Never heard of a FUZIPOP party?
  • Ex-NBA player: Re-entry tougher than serving time

    Ex-NBA player: Re-entry tougher than serving time

    Thursday, April 17 2014 4:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:05:09 GMT
    Jayson WilliamsJayson Williams
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the federal prosecutor investigating political payback allegations involving the Republican's administration are both set to speak at a prisoner re-entry conference on Thursday.
    Former NBA player Jayson Williams says trying to re-enter society after serving time for shooting a limousine driver was more difficult than being in prison.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices