Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor E. Frankl
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Man's Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
Viktor E Frankl psychologist and concentration camp survivor
discovered the importance of &quot;meaning&quot; in the ability to survive aswell as the existential needs people have in everyday life
this lead to the invention of logotherapy
2 parts of the book
His stories of camp life and how people&#39;s mental states change
Definition and breakdown of logotherapy
Essence of Existence
3 Avenues to arrive to meaning
We can get use to anything
Logotherapy as a technique
Meaning of Life / There&#39;s Meaning in Anything
Potential Discussion Points
What is something you &quot;abnormally&quot; reacted to in your life,which may in fact be normal that it was abnormal
What is something you have experienced the problem of Hyper Intention?
(the problem of being so focused on an outcome that thathyper focus prevents or makes harder that outcome)
What in your life are you able to look at with more meaningthan before reading the book?
Will to meaning
Meaning in Suffering
Writing a book / Creating a company /Impacting the Software Industry
Smart people can do this, and maybe even do it better, I believe that... but no one willbe able to do it just like I will. It may not be better, but it will be unique to what I canand will do, and it&#39;s impact therefore will be unique, that no one else can replicate.Even if not as good, still unique, and thus it&#39;s impact is only achievable by myself.
Plus who knows if others will, I can onlycontrol myself.
Didn&#39;t believe in it. Told my wife it. In it&#39;slack of feeling real it felt meaningless.
I now understand the uniqueness of the love one can give to another, even if not permanent&quot;love&quot; still unique in that you are the only one that can give love in the way you will give it, even ifsubpar, it&#39;s unique to you and the other and that&#39;s your responsibility to give that.
I also internalize Frankl&#39;s message, that love can unlock the potentialof another, create the best version of the other, that may not even becontemplated by the other without that persons&#39; love.
This can lead to 1+1 = 7, where together you achieve more because of that love and belieftoward each other, making many (all?) aspects of life better, more fulfilling, more meaningful,more successful, because the other person is in your life.
What past decisions/actions have you made that you wish tohave made for the second time, with more responsibility?
What would you have chosen to do specifically?
I wish I would have gotten divorced earlierin life, prior to having a second child
not a regret of Dexter, he&#39;s an amazing boy and I&#39;m happy he&#39;s in my life
I knew I didn&#39;t want to continue the marriage. I knew I didn&#39;t want a second child with my wife. Iknew it. I was scared. I didn&#39;t know what to do. I pretended I was a good person by prioritizinghope and &quot;trying&quot; but I honestly honestly think then, while making the decision to stay and haveanother child, I recall thinking, if I were to do this again, I would make the choice not to do this...
I have many times regretted not leaving, being at conflict with what I believed in, what Istood for, what I told of others how I would behave if in a bad martial situation. It madeit harder and harder to leave and had bigger and bigger impacts.
I can look back with the perspective of growth and what was required forme and us to be happy, I don&#39;t dwell too much on it, but I also don&#39;t haveto be ignorant to that idea I could have made that decision earlier in life.
I became very lazy over the years, and I hated it, and I have situations andpeople to blame, that I do still blame, and I take myself to not be very lazyin general and yet I regret the many times in life in which I am lazy
Lazy is used very broadly here... From simple staying on thecouch and watching tv/videos/wtv, to not taking action at work,or in a social situation, or for my career or well being.
How much could I have accomplished in lifeif I was less lazy?
Accomplish can include more fulfillment / happiness.
I believe in SANGAF&#39;s points on how motivation comes after action, lessoften does action come after motivation. I know this, if I took responsibilityin that moment and took action, I would find motivation.
Utilizing the 5 Second Rule (Mel Robbins book) &quot;18.104.22.168.1&quot; I can takeresponsibility in each moment in time and make bigger choices with my day
What are the reasons you don&#39;t commit suicide?
*Not* because it may hurt others. Other&#39;s feelings and reactions to life are not myresponsibility. I acutely felt this growing up and have acknowledged it in early 30s.
Growing up it was never a major thought. I have always been determined and confident withlofty goals to achieve. I was generally happy and tended to always find a way to be happy.
Right prior to divorce and years after I have found myself in a new state of extreme sadness,experiencing anxiety (mild forms of depression), fleeting love, and physical disabilities I&#39;ve neverexperienced before and have contemplated suicide more realistically for the first time.
Why haven&#39;t I then... ?
Not for kids necessarily though I can find meaning inthat, I don&#39;t hold myself hostage to life because of them
I don&#39;t choose it and resist choosing life as a &quot;defensive&quot; or a counter to a negative.. Iwant it to be purposeful and productive, not simply preventing negative experiences
Hope and Motivation
I have hope to achieve more with my life, to change more of life, tomake an impact more in life, with the future of my existence...
I have not reached my full potential of impact
Hope to overcome sadness, hope to find more happiness, hope to reduceanxiety, hope to overcome disability... hope to live love
I tend to conclude motivation from honest thought of suicide.
I could end my life now and end my suffering, yes.
Or I could stop giving more fucks (SANGAF), and live how /I/ want tolive, and make the changes I believe in and ride life as if it was a ragingbull instead of hide behind the begonias (behind the bushes) of lifehoping it gets better.
I realize I have yet to push harder, I have yet to try everything, to get what I want, to make the changes I want andbelieve in, and I should try those things before I leave the world, because why not? That sounds fun, that soundsworthwhile, that sounds less stressful to stop worrying and feeling pain, and try to make a change and impact theworld.
&quot;Eventually it&#39;s hard to remember how you got through everythingyou did, and your Camp experience feels like a nightmare&quot;
What past life events/experiences can you hardly recall living through,and it&#39;s more like a fleeting dream than an experience?
Frankl says to focus on the future of meaning of life, not the past... Whatfuture meaning gives you warm fuzzies thinking about?
What&#39;s a fear that you had not contemplated &quot;Paradoxical Intention&quot; for?
Post Script 1984 The Case for a Tragic Optimism
One is and remains optimistic in spite of the tragic triad
how can life maintain it&#39;s potential meaning, in spite of it&#39;s tragic aspects?
how to make the best of any given situation
optimism in the face of tragedy
is not something to be commanded or ordered
just as much as faith or love can not be ordered
just like laughter can not be ordered
it must be ensued
turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment
deriving from guilt, the opportunity to change oneself for the better
deriving from lifes transitiveness an incentive to take responsible action
final / overall life meaning
can only be discovered at the last instance of existence
requires to have made all the responsible decisions tohave survived to be at this instant in the first place
conscious as a proctor for our decisions
applies a measuring stick to a situation one is confronted with
evaluated in the light of a set of criteria, in a hierarchy of values
can not be espoused at a conscious level,they are something that &quot;we are&quot;
we have crystallized through the course ofevolution of our species
founded and rooted in biological past and depth
&quot;argumento ad hominem&quot;
? lost the reason for this reference
focused on &quot;will to meaning&quot;
as opposed to
Nietszchean&#39;s &quot;will to power&quot;
Freud&#39;s &quot;will to pleasure&quot;
the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one&#39;s life that is theprimary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.
Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.
We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least inthe stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering
Part 2 Logotherapy in a Nut Shell
Focuses on the future
The meanings to be fulfilled by oneself in the future
Confronted with and reoriented to the meaning of your life
The will to meaning
Primary motivation in life
not to gain pleasure or avoid pain
Unique and specific in that it must and can only be fulfilled by the individual alone
Only then will it have the significance to satisfy one&#39;s own will to meaning
The human mode of being
The meaning of existence
The striving to find a concrete meaning in personal existence
The will to meaning
Noalogical, Greek Nose, meaning mind
Having a why allows us to bare the how
Healthy constant tension
Between what one has accomplished and what one still wants to accomplish
Between what one is and what one should become
An inherent tension in human beings
Therefore is indispensable to mental wellbeing
One pole of the meaning to be filled
Other is the man needing to fulfill it
Most often found in boredom
Masks and guises this can appear in
Will To Power
Will to money
Will to pleasure
Meaning of life
Equivalent to asking to Chessmaster the best move in the world
Depends on the situation &amp; your knowledge &amp; in the opponent
There&#39;s not an abstract meaning to life
Each man can only respond to what life is asking of him
He can only respond by being responsible
True meaning of life is to be discovered in the world, rather than within man or his own psyche
The selftranscendence of human existence
Being Human always points itself to something or someone other than itself
The more one gives them self to another person or cause the more he actualizes himself
Is always changing, but never ceases to be
The essence of existence
Live as if you were living already for the second time
And as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you&#39;re about to act now
This Maxim implies that the present is past and that you can change the past
To be fully aware of your own responsibleness
3 avenues to arrive to meaning
Creating a work or doing a deed
the meaning in this is pretty wellunderstood by most people / is innate
Experiencing something or encountering someone
Meaning of love
To grasp another human being in their innermost core in their personality
To become fully aware the very essence of another human being
Enabled to see the essential traits and features of the other person
Sees the potential in the other that has not yet actualized but yet I ought to be actualized
This love enables the other to actualize these potentialities
By making them aware of what they can be and what they should become they make these realities come true
The attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering(most important)
The meaning of suffering
Mans depression over his wife who had died two years earlier
Asked, what would have happened if he had died and his wife had outlived him
She would have suffered
Then you see, you have spared her from the suffering
At the price that now you have to survive and mourn her
odds of surviving the camp is 1/28
Something ceases to be suffering at the moment we find a meaning in it
Suffering is not Necessary to find meaning
meaning is simply possible, even in spite of suffering
provided that the suffering is unavoidable
Life&#39;s meaning is an unconditional one
for it even includes the potential meaning of unavoidable suffering
a logodrama (example)
(dead child), crippled boy and mom who tried to commitsuicide together
the boy stopped her as he still foundmeaning in his life, while she did not
posed a question
if you were 80, with no kids, rich and successful andaccomplished, what do you say to yourself?
(some other women )married a millionaire, had a lot of fun,but at 80, I don&#39;t have children and I&#39;m not sure what all ofthat was for.. I&#39;m a failure
(suicidal women) crippled child would have been sent toan institution, so I have a made a fuller life possible forhim, I have made a better human being out of my son
as for myself, I can look back peacefully at my life, for I can saymy life was full of meaning and I have tried hard to fulfill it
I have done my best, the best for my son, my life was no failure
the super meaning
god / religion
example of surviving one&#39;s children
you&#39;re here surviving past your children so you can earn yourway to heaven so you can join them there, something youcould have not done at the moment without that suffering
logotherapy as a technique
this anxiety actually causes the the fear to morelikely take place than not having the fear
eg. fear of blushing in large crowds
makes impossible what one wishes
hyper focus on orgasm during sex, makes it even harder to orgasm
deliberate practice of a neurotic habit or thought, undertaken to identify and remove it
anxiety of sweating, causes one to sweat
when sweating occurs, resolve to showpeople how much you could sweat
he thought, instead of sweating 1 quart, Iwill attempt to sweat 10 quarts
got over the anxiety within a week
book writer with writers cramp
instead of writing as neatly as possible
write with the worst possible &quot;scroll&quot;
say to himself: now I will show people whata good scribbler I am
&quot;I tried to scribble, but I just couldn&#39;t do it&quot;
within 48 hours, freed of writers cramp
remained free for observation period
OCD cases as well
a washing compulsion
2 months later, able to lead a normal life
sleep disturbance, fear of sleeplesness
not to try to sleep
try to stay awake as long as possible
requires the ability to detach one from oneself
this is usually required in humor anyways
the empirical validation and clinical application of
Gordon W Olport? book theIndividual and his Religion
&quot;the neurotic that learns to laugh at himself, may be onthe way to self management, perhaps to cure&quot;
not a panacea
useful tool for OCD and phobic conditionswith underlying anticipatory anxiety
short term therapeutic device
though can have long lasting effects
duration of therapy is not related to lasting effects of the therapy
Dereflection is used when a person is overly selfabsorbed on an issue or attainment ofa goal. By redirecting the attention, or dereflecting the attention away from the self, theperson can become whole by thinking about others rather than themselves.
Socratic dialogue is a technique in which the logotherapist uses the own person&#39;s words as a method ofselfdiscovery. By listening intently to what the person says, the therapist can point out specific patterns ofwords, or word solutions to the client, and let the client see new meaning in them. This process allows aperson to realize that the answer lies within and is just waiting to be discovered.
the collective neurosis
every age has a collective neurosis
but responsibility does not belong to others, it&#39;s still our own responsibiltiy
the view of man which disregards his capacity to take astand, toward any conditions what so ever
man is not fully conditioned or determined but rather determineshimself, weather he gives into conditions or stands up to them
man is ultimately, self determining
man does not simply exist, but alwaysdecides what his existence will be
freedom is a potential for arbitrariness
unless we balance it with responsibleness
recommends: a statue of responsibleness(on west coast) to balance statue of liberty
Part I Experiences in aConcentration Camp
imprisoned people who are treating othersterrible and doing the guards dirty work
Picked by SS
Three phases of reactions to Camp life
Abnormal reactions are actually quite normal given the circumstances
Abnormality is usually judged compared to normal behavior removed from circumstance
Within days, moved into second phase
Well entrenched in Camp routine
man can get used to anything
Even a child with frostbitten toes being worked on by a doctor did not bring emotions of pity and disgust
The corpse staring at you of a man you just spoke to you hours earlier there&#39;s no emotional feeling while you sip your soup looking through the window at it
lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern
A necessary mechanism of selfdefense
Also caused by hunger and lack of sleep, just like in normal life
Mostly comes from the meaning behind the beatings
The injustice of the actions
The idea that the prisoners were no more than beasts it&#39;s not even of the same species as the rest
Judgments of one&#39;s life from those but you think extremely little of
Very little sexual perversion
Unlike other, all male scenarios, like army barracks
Most likely do to under nourishment
Pure focus on survival, nothing else
Love goes very far beyond the physical person
Deepest meaning is in the spiritual being
Alive or not
The relief of a worse suffering
(came from switching camps with a few less worries)
Mental reactions are still in your control
You choose how you react to what&#39;s happening, how you react in your mind
Unknown time period of release or not
Leads to a day feeling like forever but a week feeling like no time
Meaning of life
When people give up because they had no hope for anything in the future their body shut down and for many led to death
But hopelessness of our struggles should not take away from are meaning of those struggles
We need not to ask what&#39;s the meaning of our life, we need to ask what life expects of us
We need to behave as if life is questioning us
Behave not in talk but in action
The tasks in front of us have been laid out, asking us will we take the right action, in the right way
This means the meaning of life is different to everyone because everyone has different situations
Life is expecting of us
Uniqueness and singleness distinguish every individual, and gives a meaning to his existence
No one else can fill all these situations that are unique to him
It&#39;s his meaning to choose to behave the right way among all of these unique situations as no one else will be able to
This can be a father to a child, and author to books, or love from and for another
No one else has these exact circumstances capable of doing these exact things
You can and should find meaning in doing that of which no one else can do
No one else can accomplish these things in the way you could
No one else can make this person feel loved in the exact way you can
Includes suffering, dying, privation, and death
We should suffer proudly, not meaninglessly, knowing how to die
Period following release and liberation
&quot;freedom&quot; had lost its meaning
They weren&#39;t &quot;pleased&quot;, they didn&#39;t know how to be, they had to relearn how to be happy
Too often we dreamed of these things and the dream would end
Psychological version of the bends
Can suffer damage of moral and spiritual health
Slowly would it take to guide these men to the truth that no one has the right to do wrong not even if wrong has been done to them
Others respond with, we didn&#39;t know, and we have suffered as well
People who thought they couldn&#39;t suffer anymore I realize they can still continue to suffer
Many of the reasons people had to push through like loved ones, we&#39;re no longer there
This was huge discouragement and hard for many to overcome
Eventually it&#39;s hard to remember how you got through everything you did, and your Camp experience feels like a nightmare
Ultimate realization is that there is nothing more to fear