For the purposes of this documentary assignment I have researched as an “outsider.” I am not privy to any information that is not freely available to anyone else, save for those who do not have access to databases like JSTOR for relevant journal articles. I suppose with some creative thinking I could count myself as an “insider” just based on the amount of research I have done regarding this topic and the diverse source material in which I’ve immersed myself over the past two years. Even still, I consider my knowledge on this topic to be at best elementary, with much more to learn ahead.
Given the depth of the research I have done, I feel comfortable laying out the basic framework of Terror Management Theory (TMT) for my audience. As a result, the tone of my documentary is confident. I’m not merely advocating a philosophy or some wishy-washy theoretical gymnastics. TMT produces empirical evidence that demands consideration, and I have found that Ernest Becker’s ideas provide the most reasonable explanation for the data.
No one has been threatened by my research, but I do know that some will feel threatened by the material I present. TMT has the unique capability to cut deeply into its own subject matter. For many, Becker’s ideas will fundamentally contradict their most deeply held beliefs, and in doing so will cause them to respond in terror. I hope that some will recognize that terror in the context of its inspiration and perhaps use that as a reason to further examine Becker’s ideas. I have found Becker can be very sneaky in that way.