Monday, September 23, 2013

#266 / Meaning What?

A friend alerted me to a recent article in The Atlantic. Let me now alert you. You can read "There's More to Life Than Being Happy" by simply clicking the link.

The Atlantic article discusses the life and work of Viktor Frankl, a world renowned psychiatrist, who chose to accompany his parents to a Nazi concentration camp, even though Frankl was possessed of a visa and a ticket that would have allowed him to escape to America, along with his young wife. Frankl is most remembered for his book Man's Search For Meaning

"Meaning," not "happiness," is what Frankl counsels us to pursue. That is exactly the idea that has motivated my postings about "vocation," and about what I have called the "Stockdale questions."

I am finding my own answer on two levels. First, I find meaning in a wholehearted celebration of the World of Nature, which means an embrace of my life as part of that World of Nature, with "Ready To Be Recycled" stamped right on my heart. Second, I find meaning in doing my part in building a better human world within that World of Nature, a world that responds to our deepest aspirations for freedom, justice, and equality. This means helping to make history myself, by my own actions and choices, and by helping to tell a "new story," one not ever dreamed of or told before. Both Hannah Arendt and Martin Luther King, Jr. provide inspiration for me there. 

As for happiness, that comes when you get the meaning part right! That's my thought, at least, and that's pretty much what the article in The Atlantic concludes, too.


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