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According to cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker in his Pulitzer Prize winning study The Denial of Death, man is "at the same time…given the consciousness of the terror of the world and of his own death and decay." Becker's study draws upon the theories of the philosopher Kierkegaard, Freud and such contemporaries as Otto Rank and Eric Fromm, men who were both his disciples and his critics. In his study, Becker insists that this precarious human paradox—a disjunction between mortal body and self-conscious mind—causes an immense anxiety over our imminent death and engages us in a search for immortality. Becker argues that we create immortality projects—a culture-footprint, anything that marks our participation within a society—so that we may live on through society and our immortality project after death. While Becker's work is too demonstrative in scope and language for the purpose of this thesis, the fundamental claims are part of a nuanced exploration into the human condition, namely, the human paradox. There are many ways to interpret the human paradox—mortal body, immortal soul. This thesis examines that of two thinkers of the ages, Michel de Montaigne and Sigmund Freud. Although not the only intellectuals to take these concepts into consideration in their writing, Montaigne and Freud provide the most comprehensive approach; they provide textual evidence that great minds have explored these ideas over the course of millennia. With an exposition of self-mastery, Montaigne and Freud first inspired their own historical milieu; following in their footsteps, successive generations have inculcated their techniques, gaining insight into the perennial issues that encompass the contemporary selves of each successive generation.