Viktor Frankl's searing take on the meaning of life
Psychotherapist and pioneer of logo therapy, Viktor Frankl often asked his patients a question: "Why do you not commit suicide?" After all their tale of woe was enough to sink a million brave hearts.
What is it that keeps us alive in extremity? Frankl feels
it is finding meaning in suffering. He spent three horrendous years years at the Aushwitz concentration camp. Name, fame, wealth, social status, education and family background all fell in a dust heap at Aushwitz. A prisoner was just a number in rags surviving on watery soup and a piece of stale bread. A bag of bones shackled to dehumanising work until he was too weak to be useful. Then he went to the gas chambers. what wedding items to wear for mature brides over 50/60
Is there any meaning or purpose in such a wretched.existence? Is there any virtue in 'getting through' such suffering? Frankl says there is, because unavoidable suffering is 'attitudinal heroism.' A condemned man trapped in terrible circumstances can turn his suffering into an achievement by refusing to compromise on his dignity, decency and compassion. A man who refuses to be brutalized by circumstance is a hero.
What we become when faced with suffering is an inner decision. We can either sink to the level of animals or rise above our situation to grow as fully individuated human beings. This gives a deeper meaning to our lives
For Freud, the root of neuroses is unresolved issues in the unconscious. For Frankl, it boils down to a failure in finding meaning in our lives.
Viktor Frankl; "Man's search for meaning."