Bitesize 500 No:8 – February 28th, 2022
Finding your meaning for life
I have been inspired to write the following blog post in response to reading Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Also, in response to how am I feeling at this current time of uncertainty where fear and lies are all around us and we have to search for meaning in today’s very corrupt world.
These following paragraphs leapt from the page as I read the book, I quote.
Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfil the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. These tasks are real and concrete they form man’s destiny which are different and unique for each individual.
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how - Nietzsche
The truth that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.
How beautiful the world could be!
That everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
The meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment. …..One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfilment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.
The overriding thought that I take from the book and Frankl alludes to this many times, we must never give up hope, never.
The book is inspiring in that, in unimaginable horror there is always hope that evil will be finally defeated, as it was. Frankl was liberated from a concentration camp 77 years ago. One thing we should have learnt from that time in history is that this horror perpetrated on humanity must not be allowed to happen again.
Frankl also talks about ‘The Existential Vacuum’ inasmuch much as man has lost the traditions that had buttressed his behaviour which have been eroded away over time. I quote Frankl’s words:
“No instincts tell him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishes to do. Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do (conformism) or he does what other people wish him to do (totalitarianism)”
Isn’t this the root of the problem in the 21st Century, we have become ‘lost in a sea of noise’ as I call it, and the issue I have, this has been by design to undermine the very essence of humanness, and as a consequence, we are heading at speed for Orwell’s dystopia.
Man’s Search For Meaning is ended by the following prophetic comments:
For the world is in a bad state, (pub 2004) but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.
So, let us be alert – alert in a twofold sense:
Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.
And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.