For both Darwin and Freud the idea of death saves us from the idea that there is anything to be saved from. If we are not fallen creatures, but simply creatures, we cannot be redeemed. If we are not deluded by the wish for immortality, transience doesn't diminish us...If mortality were a flaw or a punishment, we were always verging on humiliation. Tyrannical fantasies of our own perfectibility still lurk in even our simplest ideals, Darwin and Freud intimate, so that any ideal can become an excuse for punishment. Lives dominated by impossible ideals -- complete honesty, absolute knowledge, perfect happiness, eternal love -- are lives experienced as continuous failure.
Adams Phillips, Darwin's Worms