"Find Something to Live for"

I found this via Cassandra's 42nd CotG.

I'll just say that I usually hate the ol' "look at how bad other folks have it before whinin' 'bout yer own problems" canard. I really do.
I am not them! Their problems might be cake for me to deal with, no matter how brutal they are for them.

This is one example that slips through that argument for me.

From a website called
Paul's Tips.

I've just finished reading Viktor Frankl's “Man’s Search for Meaning”, which I think is a very interesting book. Frankl is a neurologist and psychiatrist who has developed a theory called Logotherapy.

The three core ideas of his theory are that life has meaning even under the worst imaginable circumstances; our core drive as humans is our search for meaning; and that we all have the freedom to discover what has meaning for us.

Frankl is a Jew who survived a number of years in a Nazi concentration camp. He provides graphic descriptions of the horrors of being a prisoner in these camps. Most people have a pretty good idea of what occurred during the Holocaust, so I’m not going to go into details of these descriptions. I will say, however, that such a personal view did help me to understand these events better.

[Read it. It's worth it.]


  1. Sounds like an interesting book. Most Holocaust survivors cannot talk about it. Let alone write something for a book. I am going to have to read this.

  2. Me too, AG. The name "Frankl" caught my attention initially, but I didn't know why 'til I read the post a little further. I've heard of him, but not that he'd wrote about it or what he did professionally.

    Hhhmmm.. Now I think I'll search Amazon and add the link.

    Thanks for the idea.

  3. I spent several years reading nothing else but books about the Holocaust. I know it sounds weird. Did you know my nickname is "Morose?" (And when I say *years* -- I mean, um, years.)

    Anyway -- I really *grew up* and learned because of all that reading.

    The three core ideas of his theory are that life has meaning even under the worst imaginable circumstances; our core drive as humans is our search for meaning; and that we all have the freedom to discover what has meaning for us.

    Thoughts like that is what I admire so of all the writing that came out of that horrible experience.

    I'll read it, MB! Thanks for the post.

  4. Just have to add a couple of thoughts...

    Reading so much about the Holocaust made me feel like a citizen of the world, not just one country. It connected me to the past -- before I was born -- and to the future -- to know what to *try to* fight to believe in.

    I learned about spirituality, the Jewish faith and how they cried for God, but he did not listen.

    And I learned how they kept on believing...kept on searching for meaning. Forever.

    And each book I read taught me to remember. How really the only thing you can do sometimes is remember. And if you do, that's enough.

    Oh! So much to say on the subject!

    I'm done now.


  5. Synchronicity is at play here. I just finished reading Man's Search For Meaning today.

    In regard to cultivating a feeling that life is worth living, this is a quote of Frankl's that I find most profound:

    "We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.

    We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life - daily and hourly.

    Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.

    Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual."

    Frankl also writes about suffering. He was a firm believer that suffering is inevitable for humans, but that we can give it meaning.

    For instance, if your spouse dies and you are heartbroken and feel life is meaningless, Frankl would ask you: What if you had died first and your spouse was left behind?

    If your answer is that it would have been just as agonizing - or worse - for your spouse to have lost you, then your suffering has meaning. For you have spared your spouse that suffering by taking it on yourself, instead. This is what makes suffering heroic.

    Yet, suffering that is avoidable is not dignified nor heroic, but masochistic, for it is not necessary to suffer to find meaning. Only suffering that is unavoidable and endured with dignity, especially if to migigate the suffering of another, is heroic.

    Ultimately the individual is the one who determines, in his heart, whether his suffering was avoidable or necessary and meaningful.

    Frankl recommends that each person imagine him or herself to be eighty years old and on his deathbed.

    From that perspective, look at your life and see if it has had meaning.

    Frankl's imperative is: Live as if you were living for the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now."

    Then do what you know is right.

    His last advice is:

    "...For the world is in a bad state, 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."

    Truly a book worth reading!



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