MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING. Viktor Frankl’s Exploration Of The… | by Gerald Lombardo | Medium

MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING

Viktor Frankl’s Exploration Of The Purpose Of Life

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Viktor Frankl (Image Is From Unsplash)

The existential vacuum is a widespread phenomenon of the 20th century. This is understandable; it may be due to a twofold loss which man has had to undergo since he became a truly human being. At the beginning of human history, man lost some of the basic animal instincts in which an animal’s behavior is imbedded and by which it is secured. . .In addition to this, however, man has suffered another loss in his more recent development inasmuch as the traditions which buttressed his behavior are now rapidly diminishing. No instinct tells 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).

This ultimate meaning necessarily exceeds and surpasses the finite intellectual capacities of man…What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms

I am convinced that in the final analysis, there is no situation that does not contain within it the seed of a meaning.

We need to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who [are] being questioned by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and right conduct. Life ultimately means the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

To put the question [of the meaning of life] in general terms would be comparable to the question posed to a chess champion: “Tell me, master, what is the best move in the world?” There simply is no such thing as the best or even a good move apart from a particular situation in a game and the particular personality of one’s opponent. The same holds for human existence. 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 fulfillment.

Novelist and writer of personal and cultural non-fiction

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