The human mind occupies a unique status in nature, able to contemplate the eternal and the absolute, and yet bound within a mortal animal and a mutable world. This juxtaposition of mental and physical existence creates a tension fundamental to human psychic development that Becker has labeled “the denial of death.” As Becker describes, this denial can be more generally construed as an aversion to direct experience of disorder and impermanence-the death of the self being an ultimate, personal manifestation of this universal tendency. Psychic life requires the construction of defenses, albeit temporary and in a sense ultimately futile ones, against this disorder. Both the implicit, mental narrative that implements human perception and cognition and the explicit, written narratives of literature can be read as the mechanism of this defense. A fear of death drives us to become narrators, to transform the disconnected chaos of our sensorium into representative mental texts whose distinct scenes contain recognizable characters that act in coherent plots and evince meaningful themes. This capacity to project the concrete and intractable complexity of direct experience onto abstract and predictable scripts is fundamental to human cognition: in this sense there is no thought without narrative, and in fact, a strong argument has been made for the genesis of language as an externalized representation of the narrative structure of human thought (Turner). As long as we’re able to keep up this substitution of perceptual representation for sensory referent, we maintain cognition and forestall death.