Greatest sage Viktor Frankl: What is to give light must endure burning

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Pinned Imagehttp://pinterest.com/pin/82190761919634543/

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What is to give light must endure burning

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2782.Viktor_E_Frankl

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/this-indifferent-world/

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To address the question of redemptive suffering,  here is great teacher Viktor Frankl,  Holocaust survivor and the genesis of the pschotherapy/philosophical school of  “The Will to Meaning in Life.”   –

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According to Frankl, “We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways:  (1) by creating a work or doing a deed;  (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering,”  and that “everything can be taken from a person but one thing:   The last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”   On the meaning of suffering, Frankl gives the following example:

Once, an elderly general practitioner consulted me because of his severe depression. He could not overcome the loss of his wife who had died two years before and whom he had loved above all else. Now how could I help him? What should I tell him? I refrained from telling him anything, but instead confronted him with a question, “What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?” “Oh,” he said, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!” Whereupon I replied, “You see, Doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it is you who have spared her this suffering; but now, you have to pay for it by surviving and mourning her.” He said no word but shook my hand and calmly left the office.
— Viktor Frankl
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Frankl emphasized that realizing the value of suffering is meaningful only when the first two creative possibilities are not available [for example, in a concentration camp] and only when such suffering is inevitable –

he was not proposing that people suffer unnecessarily.

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http://turnloveinsideout.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-is-to-give-light-must-endure.html

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I am re-reading “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl. I liked the above quote.  Another quote from Frankl.  “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality.”

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http://www.positivelypositive.com/

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Your Attitude + Your Choices = Your Life

Make Money. Change the World. B-School Is Open (Details + Bonus Inside)!
Is It Your Fault if You Can’t Heal Yourself? – Part 4
Happy Anniversary! Celebrating a Decade of Thriving with Cancer.

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http://andrewboyd.com/the-agony-of-being-connected-to-everything-in-the-universe/

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The agony of being connected to everything in the Universe What is to give light must endure burning. —Victor Frankel Many of us have set out on the path of enlightenment. We long for a release of selfhood in some kind of mystical union with all things. But that moment of epiphany–when we finally see the whole pattern and sense our place in the cosmic web–can be a crushing experience from which we never fully recover. Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. You can not turn away. Your destiny is bound to the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors. To seek enlightenment is to seek annihilation, rebirth, and the taking up of burdens. You must come prepared to touch and be touched by each and every thing in heaven and hell.

+ I am One with the Universe and it hurts. +

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/greg-garrett-great-stories-make-us-feel-as-though-we-are-not-alone-and-these-stories-offer-us-the-opportunity-to-enter-into-stories-of-great-suffering-and-to-cultivate-the-fervent-belief-that-su/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/finding-meaning-in-suffering-a-la-great-master-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/what-would-jesus-do-jesus-was-willing-to-be-wholly-and-authentically-jesus-even-at-the-cost-of-reputation-family-and-eventually-his-own-life-jesus-does-not-come-into-the-life-of/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/ambivalence-killed-jesus-the-people-waved-palm-branches-on-sunday-singing-hosanna-hey-come-friday-they-shouted-to-free-barabbas-same-crowd-when-you-stand-too-close-to-beautiful/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/thriving-learning-having-wisdom-are-about-getting-up-each-morning-with-intention-clarity-commitment-to-seek-nurture-connection-along-lifes-healthy-healing-path-of-inner-nouris/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/does-your-life-have-purpose/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/randy-pausch-steven-kalas-living-meaningfully/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/harriet-beecher-stowes-prophetic-engine-sage-joan-d-hedrick/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/richard-katzev-ryan-schutt-on-our-greatest-modern-therapist-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/viktor-frankl-analog-desmond-tutu-on-suffering-choose-to-be-ennobled-instead-of-embittered/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/the-soul-of-les-miserables-why-it-touches-us-robert-c-crosby/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/an-ennobling-sufferance-living-life-to-the-fullest/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-often-think-of-buddhism-as-the-shadow-side-of-christianity-in-the-jungian-sense-of-the-shadow-not-a-negative-thing-at-all-rather-as-the-necessary-counterbalance-christians-talk-of-attachme/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/no-one-can-take-away-ones-own-attitude-to-live-authentically-passionately-in-praise-of-roberto-benignis-15th-anniversary-movie-life-is-beautiful/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/in-some-ways-suffering-ceases-to-be-suffering-at-the-moment-it-finds-a-meaning-such-as-the-meaning-of-a-sacrifice-life-is-never-made-unbearable-by-circumstances-but-only-by-lack-of-meaning-and-pur/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/dostoevski-said-once-there-is-only-one-thing-i-dread-not-to-be-worthy-of-my-sufferings-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/surrender-yes-what-is-demanded-of-man-is-not-as-some-existential-philosophers-teach-to-endure-the-meaninglessness-of-life-but-rather-to-bear-rationally-his-incapacity-to-grasp-its/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/what-is-to-give-light-must-endure-burning-sage-viktor-frankl-in-tribute-to-connie-francis/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/a-path-everything-can-be-taken-away-from-man-but-one-thing-to-choose-ones-attitude-in-a-given-set-of-circumstances-to-choose-ones-own-way-the-sane-are-thos/

 

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http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/

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The pursuit of happiness is associated with selfish behavior — being, as mentioned, a “taker” rather than a    “giver.” The psychologists give an evolutionary explanation for this: happiness is about drive reduction. If you have a need or a desire — like hunger —    you satisfy it, and that makes you happy. People become happy, in other words, when they get what they want.

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“Happy people get a lot of joy from receiving benefits from others while people leading meaningful lives get a lot of joy from giving to others,” explained    Kathleen Vohs, one of the authors of the study, in a recent presentation at the University of Pennsylvania. In other words, meaning transcends the self    while happiness is all about giving the self what it wants. People who have high meaning in their lives are more likely to help others in need. “If    anything, pure happiness is linked to not helping others in need,” the researchers write.

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“Partly what we do as human beings is to take care of others and contribute to others. This makes life meaningful but it does not necessarily make us    happy,” Baumeister told me in an interview.

    Meaning is not only about transcending the self, but also about transcending the present moment — which is perhaps the most important finding of the    study, according to the researchers. While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do; positive    affect and feelings of pleasure are fleeting. The amount of time people report feeling good or bad correlates with happiness but not at all with meaning.

    Meaning, on the other hand, is enduring. It connects the past to the present to the future. “Thinking beyond the present moment, into the past or future,    was a sign of the relatively meaningful but unhappy life,” the researchers write. “Happiness is not generally found in contemplating the past or future.”    That is, people who thought more about the present were happier, but people who spent more time thinking about the future or about past struggles and    sufferings felt more meaning in their lives, though they were less happy.

    Having negative events happen to you, the study found, decreases your happiness but increases the amount of meaning you have in life. Another study from    2011 confirmed this, finding that people who have meaning in their lives, in the form of a clearly defined purpose, rate their satisfaction with life    higher even when they were feeling bad than those who did not have a clearly defined purpose. “If there is meaning in life at all,” Frankl wrote, “then    there must be meaning in suffering.”

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    Which brings us back to Frankl’s life and, specifically, a decisive experience he had before he was sent to the concentration camps. It was an incident    that emphasizes the difference between the pursuit of meaning and the pursuit of happiness in life.

RTR29GZDinset.jpgPeter Andrews/Reuters

    In his early adulthood, before he and his family were taken away to the camps, Frankl had established himself as one of the leading psychiatrists in Vienna    and the world. As a 16-year-old boy, for example, he struck up a correspondence with Sigmund Freud and one day sent Freud a two-page paper he had written.    Freud, impressed by Frankl’s talent, sent the paper to the International Journal of Psychoanalysis for publication. “I hope you don’t object,”    Freud wrote the teenager.

    While he was in medical school, Frankl distinguished himself even further. Not only did he            establish suicide-prevention centers for teenagers        — a precursor to his work in the camps — but he was also developing his signature contribution to the field of clinical psychology: logotherapy, which is    meant to help people overcome depression and achieve well-being by finding their unique meaning in life. By 1941, his theories had received international    attention and he was working as the chief of neurology at Vienna’s Rothschild Hospital, where he risked his life and career by making false diagnoses of    mentally ill patients so that they would not, per Nazi orders, be euthanized.

    That was the same year when he had a decision to make, a decision that would change his life. With his career on the rise and the threat of the Nazis    looming over him, Frankl had applied for a visa to America, which he was granted in 1941. By then, the Nazis had already started rounding up the Jews and    taking them away to concentration camps, focusing on the elderly first. Frankl knew that it would only be time before the Nazis came to take his parents    away. He also knew that once they did, he had a responsibility to be there with his parents to help them through the trauma of adjusting to camp life. On    the other hand, as a newly married man with his visa in hand, he was tempted to leave for America and flee to safety, where he could distinguish himself    even further in his field.

    As Anna S. Redsand recounts in her biography of Frankl, he was at a    loss for what to do, so he set out for St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna to clear his head. Listening to the organ music, he repeatedly asked himself,    “Should I leave my parents behind?… Should I say goodbye and leave them to their fate?” Where did his responsibility lie? He was looking for a “hint from    heaven.”

    When he returned home, he found it. A piece of marble was lying on the table. His father explained that it was from the rubble of one of the nearby    synagogues that the Nazis had destroyed. The marble contained the fragment of one of the Ten Commandments — the one about honoring your father and your    mother. With that, Frankl decided to stay in Vienna and forgo whatever opportunities for safety and career advancement awaited him in the United States. He    decided to put aside his individual pursuits to serve his family and, later, other inmates in the camps.

    The wisdom that Frankl derived from his experiences there, in the middle of unimaginable human suffering, is just as relevant now as it was then: “Being    human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The    more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.”

    By putting aside our selfish interests to    serve someone or something larger than ourselves — by devoting our lives to “giving” rather than “taking” — we are not only expressing our fundamental    humanity, but are also acknowledging that that there is more to the good life than the pursuit of simple happiness.

 

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http://www.teach-kids-attitude-1st.com/viktor-frankl.html

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Viktor Frankl is refuting the possibility that the appalling and cruel behaviors he observed in the concentrations camps should be blamed on the external circumstances alone.

He is making the case that while the circumstances certainly favored terrible behavior it was ultimately a decision made by individuals as proven by the examples of those who chose to live and die with some form of dignity that defied all the circumstantial momentum towards depravity.

“An active life serves the purpose of giving man the opportunity to realize values in creative work, while a passive life affords him the opportunity to obtain fulfillment in experiencing beauty, art, or nature.

But there is also purpose in that life which is almost barren of both creation and enjoyment and which admits of but one possibility of high moral behavior: namely, in man’s attitude to his existence, an existence restricted by external forces.

A creative life and a life of enjoyment are banned to him.

But not only creativeness and enjoyment are meaningful.

If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering.

Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death.

Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.”

The key to this passage is in understanding the metaphor Viktor Frankl is laying out.

First he portrays the obvious span between active creative living as opposed to passive enjoyment of life.

He says that each of these two aspects have certain inherent and assumed sets of value that, though different, provide equal access to meaning and purpose.

Where meaning and purpose are the necessary ingredients of fulfillment which are necessary to a worthwhile life.

Then Viktor Frankl introduces a third extreme in this metaphoric structure, suffering, which he implies has previously been assumed to be effectively barren of any ingredients for worth in life, or for “high moral behavior” as he puts it.

Making his point he asserts authoritatively that meaning is not the exclusive province of just the two extremes of creativity and enjoyment.

His concept is that life is a container in which meaning and purpose reside.

He is saying that meaning and purpose are pervasive throughout the container of life, therefore, as a consequence of simply being within the container of life, suffering also has meaning and purpose.

Contrary to popular belief, he asserts, suffering cannot negate nor restrict access to meaning and purpose.

Viktor Frankl is saying that we have a generally accepted idea that life is inherently meaningful except for the areas of life in which suffering occurs.

When you observe a person in a state of suffering you get the impression that meaning and purpose are absent or that the suffering person is prevented from accessing them.

Viktor Frankl assumes that life is inherently meaningful, so he points out how suffering must also be meaningful because of the fact that it is part of life, ipso facto.

Since life is inherently meaningful then any assumption that is made about the inherent meaninglessness or purposelessness of suffering is false, an illusion.

Viktor Frankl, writing before the development of cognitive sciences, insisted meaning is inherent in life, but as I read cognitive science and from my own philosophical explorations it is more accurate to say that what gives life meaning is a meaning making consciousness, like our human consciousness.

Life is not inherently meaningful; life, in and of itself, is meaningless until there is a consciousness that assigns meaning to it.

Life is not in and of itself fulfilling until there is a consciousness that makes it fulfilling.

Life is not literally a container and can only metaphorically be a container if a consciousness conceives of it that way.

What fills life with anything at all is a consciousness that conceives of life as a container that can be filled with something, which is exactly what we humans do.

We conceive of life as a container and then fill it with meaning and purpose, unless there is a different story or metaphor that we choose instead.

The question this raises is how to understand the differentiation between those who behaved with dignity under the circumstances of the concentration camps from those who behaved with depravity.

If meaning is what we give to life, then how do we understand the concentration camps?

I believe that what distinguishes those who behaved cruelly or without dignity and those who expressed compassion or retained their dignity is in their understanding of the situations in which they found themselves.

The majority of people accepted the socially reinforced view of the plight of prisoners as devoid of meaning and value whereas the rare few asserted their inherent meaning making powers and chose an attitude that defied the socially reinforced view of the situation.

In either case the meaning of the situation was imposed by those who were taking action, either taking the “easy” route of accepting what others have told them about the situation or the “hard” route of asserting a different meaning.

I put the quotes around the words “easy” and “hard” because I also suspect that what distinguishes one person’s ability to assert meaning in the face of other incompatible meanings is mostly practice, not disposition or conscious deliberation.

Thus, if a person has grown up in situations that have repeatedly encouraged them to assert meaning then they will have developed a habit that can serve them under more trying circumstances.

If my suspicion is correct then everyone takes the “easy” route, from the perspective of their own personal experience.

What makes the “hard” route “hard” is the fact that someone who has not developed the habits of mind for creating meaning will not have access to that option and it seems extremely difficult, if not impossible.

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11 Responses to Greatest sage Viktor Frankl: What is to give light must endure burning

  1. Pingback: By putting aside our selfish interests to serve someone or something larger than ourselves — by devoting our lives to “giving” rather than “taking” — we are not only expressing our fundamental humanity, but are also acknowledging that there is

  2. Pingback: Radical commitment, and nothing less, makes a marriage and/or odyssey in self-actualization thrive | Curtis Narimatsu

  3. Pingback: Victor Tan Chen: On Frankl — the last freedom — most fundamental freedom of all — the freedom “to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” | Curtis Narimatsu

  4. Pingback: Ethan Remmel: One of the most helpful things I’ve read since I got sick is Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps in World War II. He experienced and o

  5. Pingback: Ethan Remmel: One of the most helpful things I’ve read since I got sick is Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps in World War II. He experienced and o

  6. Pingback: Ethan Remmel: One of the most helpful things I’ve read since I got sick is Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps in World War II. He experienced and o

  7. Pingback: Ethan Remmel: One of the most helpful things I’ve read since I got sick is Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps in World War II. He experienced and o

  8. Pingback: Ethan Remmel: One of the most helpful things I’ve read since I got sick is Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps in World War II. He experienced and o

  9. Pingback: Ethan Remmel: One of the most helpful things I’ve read since I got sick is Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps in World War II. He experienced and o

  10. Pingback: Ethan Remmel: One of the most helpful things I’ve read since I got sick is Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps in World War II. He experienced and o

  11. Pingback: Ethan Remmel: One of the most helpful things I’ve read since I got sick is Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps in World War II. He experienced and o

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