Post by shocheradam on Jul 15, 2015 17:09:49 GMT -5
I just finished reading this. It's broken into two sections: a section on his experiences in Auschwitz, and a section on his "logotherapy," or "meaning therapy," to help people move through painful experiences.
He identifies three places where man (humanity) finds meaning:
1. Through accomplishment - things that bring public recognition of your acts 2. Through love - connecting with another person 3. Through suffering - as long as the suffering has meaning
It's easy to find meaning through accomplishment and love, but not so easy to find meaning in suffering. The book is profound, and profoundly Jewish in its approach to suffering, but I'd like to know what people think of the idea that suffering is easier to bear if you can find meaning in it.
Judge not your friend until you stand in his place. - Hillel
I haven't read that book, but I feel like I'm fairly aware how difficult it is to find meaning in suffering. I developed an autoimmune disease when I was 18. I'm 25 now, and I was horrified when I realized that I had lived with the disease for a quarter of my life. I know that one day, I will have lived with it longer than I did without it. It would be a great deal easier to handle if I felt like there was a reason, especially if it was well defined and quantified.
I used to think that, at least to some extent, everything happens for a reason. Now, I just think that everything happens. I do not think anyone, higher power or not, has control of these things. I've heard that G-d only gives these burdens to very special people who He feels can bear them. I think that's nuts, and that's not my G-d. To kill children indiscriminately, or to give agonizing diseases that have little to no treatment is not something I could handle believing in.
I have changed since I got sick. Now, I believe even more than I already did for equal rights for every group, I believe that everyone has the right to healthcare and a home, and an education so that if someone's body is messed up, they can still use their brain to have some kind of a job, and now I will fight for these things. I cannot do much, but I do what I can. Part of what drew me to Judaism is Tikkun Olam. There is very little I can do, but I can still contribute, and I can still help to repair the world, even if it's just one signature or phone call or one instance of not allowing bigotry and hatred to stand.
Frankl's book is one of the books that eventually led me to Judaism.
He doesn't say there IS meaning in suffering; he says we FIND meaning because we must. Losing the sense of meaning is losing hope, and those who lose hope can (often do) die. Hopelessness is a terrible thing.