Radical commitment, and nothing less, makes a marriage and/or odyssey in self-actualization thrive

Girls Guide To Saintshttp://www.bing.com/images/search?q=jesus+cost+of+discipleship+images&qpvt=jesus+cost+of+discipleship+images&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=87DA025A8C19B096C732F29A02469D17948389A2&selectedIndex=0

http://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+to+give+light+must+endure+burning&hl=en&sa=N&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=b5AmUcaoKOTEigLM-YH4BQ&ved=0CD4QsAQ4Cg&biw=1440&bih=784#imgrc=4XvG-AHuGBE_fM%3A%3Bch87Joxc228fCM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F24.media.tumblr.com%252Ftumblr_mdyb7m1cWk1rkrzcio1_500.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Facrystaleye.tumblr.com%252Fpage%252F3%3B480%3B480

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Stations Of The Cross

http://www.lvrj.com/view/radical-commitment-and-nothing-less-makes-a-marriage-thrive-160342315.html

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I want to buy some credibility with my “I’m not religious!” religious readers. Sometimes I like to retell a religious story and then apply it to a broader but still important human matter. So, hang with me here. I don’t have a religious agenda.

In the Christian Gospel, there is told a brief exchange that Jesus has with three people.

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The chapter heading in my Bible titles it, “The cost of discipleship.”

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Each of these three people begins the conversation with an expressed desire to be one of Jesus’ followers.

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And to each, Jesus responds with the cost entailed in such a commitment.

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Whenever I read this, I think of people who have made or are considering making marital vows. I think of people who have dared to consider a lifelong commitment to growing love and fidelity with another human being in the bonds of life partnership.

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1)     The first guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you!” And Jesus fires back, “He who puts his hand on the plow and  — looks back is not fit   — for the Kingdom of God.”

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Well, of course. Either decide to plow the field or decide not to plow the field. But if you decide to plow the field, then put your hand on the plow and keep your eyes forward. Pay attention. If you say “giddyup” to the mule, and then keep eyeballing over your shoulder, fantasizing and wondering about fields you might or should have plowed instead, the mule is going to get the idea that plowing is not very important. You won’t be plowing straight lines. The mule might even get a mind of its own and wander over to someone else’s field, making the owner of that field very unhappy. You’ll also likely get some very critical questions from the co-owner of your field – the field you made a commitment to plow.

Marriage calls for an unequivocal, radical commitment. It’s normal over the course of 40 to 50 years of marriage to occasionally indulge the fantasy of what might have happened had you not made this commitment. What might have happened if you made the commitment to someone else. But the fact is, you made this commitment. Not that one. So, hand on the plow. Eyes forward. You are in charge of the mule, not the mule in charge of you.

So, decide. Unequivocally. Radically. With your whole heart.

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2)    The next guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you.” And Jesus says, cryptically, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Well, of course. Radical commitments require the regular sacrifice of belonging. If I say I belong “here,” then by definition, I will not belong to other places and people the way I once might have belonged. If I belong “here,” then there will be some places and people to whom I cannot ever belong again. Radical commitment demands that we “rewire” belonging.

If we make a marriage commitment, then we cannot belong to our jobs the same way. We cannot belong to our mother and father the same way. Nor to our friends. To make someone primary in your life means other relationships will now have different orbits in the constellation of our attention and energy.

I say this often, especially to blended families. Divorced parents meet and fall in love. But they often underestimate, make naive assumptions about or even try to dodge the work of rewiring children into the new union. But if you want your new union to be the success that your first marriage was not, then there is no alternative to having the rigorous conversations with the new mate and with your children about the new constellation of belongingness.

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3)     The last guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you, but first let me bury my father.” And Jesus says: “Let the dead bury the dead. You follow me now.” Ouch.

Jesus might sound insensitive, but his point is well-taken. There are and will always be reasons to put off radical commitment. Commitment requires us to recognize the illusion of our hesitation. We keep telling ourselves, “When circumstances X, Y and Z are resolved, then I will make a commitment.” But all great marriages sojourn in a land of constantly changing circumstances and problems to solve. Make the commitment. Decide. Then turn together – as We – to face and do battle with those swirling, ever-changing circumstances.

We don’t say, “If/when (the problems/circumstances), then my marriage. …” We say, “Given that I’m married, then, what shall We do about the problems and the circumstances.”

Only a radical commitment is a radical commitment.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/everyone-needs-a-shot-at-redemption-192830691.html

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Did you win the marriage lottery?      🙂

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What’s universal about redemption stories is that redemption sooner or later is everyone’s story. 

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In the Jim Carrey movie “Liar, Liar” is a man who, for 24 hours, can’t lie. It’s just so human and funny. Because, when you get down to it, humans are pretty funny. Absurdly funny.

But I also love the movie because it grabs my passion for redemption stories. Redemption is my favorite of the universal human stories. Now, the “universal” part is not that all human beings find their way to redemption, or even that all human beings get around to noticing what in themselves needs redeeming. Nope, some folks, I think, lie in hospice and think, “Whew. Almost there. With a little luck, I can die without ever having to look at myself.”

What’s universal about redemption stories is that redemption sooner or later is everyone’s story. That is, if you’re a human being, you’ll eventually be confronted by parts of yourself that need redeeming.  You remain free to ignore and dodge the confrontation. I do not recommend this, however.

In “Liar, Liar,” Carrey plays a conniving lawyer. Think of all your favorite negative prejudices about lawyers. Carrey’s character is a caricature of all that. So his son makes a birthday wish that, for 24 hours, his father can’t lie. The wish comes true.

And now, everyone sees the naked truth about the man. Which, it turns out, is the only way the man is willing and able to see himself – his own unlovely truth. And, because his uncensored, unpolished truths make chaos out of trial courtroom decorum, the judge thunders, “I hold you in contempt!” To which the man roars back, “I hold myself in contempt!”

And, with that confession, the man’s redemption story can begin.

Now, when moments like that happen in therapy, when a patient truly beholds something ugly in his character (egregious selfishness, cruelties, betrayals, dishonesty, abuses and/or injustices to self and others), and when they blurt out their own version of “I hold myself in contempt” … well, you might think therapist types would jump in to console. To reframe. To say, “We’ve got to work on your self-esteem so you can forgive yourself.”

Not me. In those moments, I tend to say, “Good for you!” Because only people with high functioning self-esteem have the strength to confront in themselves that which does not deserve to be esteemed. Because the only forgiveness worth having emerges from truth and contrition.

Carrey re-upped the same role in the movie “Bruce Almighty.” Yep, here’s an ambitious, proud, card-carrying jerk who critiques and complains to God once too often. So, God smugly hands the man God’s job. Says, “Knock yourself out.” And, of course, after a brief, hedonistic exploitation of his newfound powers, the hapless man is crushed under the weight of mystery. The movie finds him kneeling on a roadway at night in the rain, pleading up to heaven, “I don’t want to be God!”

And, with that confession, the man’s redemption story can begin.

“I am stone-cold, wretchedly guilty of (insert contemptible behavior here).” … “I am not God.” These two companion confessions are not self-loathing. They are self-respecting.

The Richard Gere character in “An Officer and a Gentleman” comes to mind. Another self-serving louse. He is confronted and exposed by his drill sergeant. And, when threatened with expulsion, Private Louse weeps and cries out: “I got nowhere to go! I got nothing!” And to the woman he loves, he shouts, “I don’t want anybody to love me!”

And, with these confessions, his story of redemption can begin.

The husband in my office tells his wife, “I won’t ever forgive myself (for my sins against you).” And the wife shocks us both when she pops back, “I’m not going to let it be that easy for you!”

We’re both a little stunned, the husband and I.  She tells him in no uncertain terms that there is no way he’s going to compound his utter selfishness and general lousy husbandry with “sucking his thumb” (her exact words) for the rest of his life about how guilty he feels. She tells him her forgiveness is worth more than gold, and he can either accept the forgiveness or get out.

He looks humble. Awed. “Yes ma’am,” he says, obediently.

I can’t help myself. “Where did you find her?” I ask, incredulously. “Did you win the marriage lottery?”

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/by-putting-aside-our-selfish-interests-to-serve-someone-or-something-larger-than-ourselves-by-devoting-our-lives-to-giving-rather-than-taking/

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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 more to the good life than the pursuit of simple happiness.  — Emily Esfahani Smith

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“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.”    — greatest sage Viktor Frankl

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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.

        RECOMMENDED  

    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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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/greatest-sage-viktor-frankl-what-is-to-give-light-must-endure-burning/

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http://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+to+give+light+must+endure+burning&hl=en&sa=N&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=b5AmUcaoKOTEigLM-YH4BQ&ved=0CD4QsAQ4Cg&biw=1440&bih=784#imgrc=4XvG-AHuGBE_fM%3A%3Bch87Joxc228fCM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F24.media.tumblr.com%252Ftumblr_mdyb7m1cWk1rkrzcio1_500.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Facrystaleye.tumblr.com%252Fpage%252F3%3B480%3B480

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http://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+to+give+light+must+endure+burning&hl=en&sa=N&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=zpAmUbHUOM3MigLSioGICQ&ved=0CD4QsAQ4Cg&biw=1440&bih=784#imgrc=lPUsGMahWFMnHM%3A%3B66kBacllh16l-M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F2.bp.blogspot.com%252F-PgfSiHw6EyI%252FTyfdwo31CtI%252FAAAAAAAAAFs%252FZX4J-BBqQ2s%252Fs1600%252F26970_10150166039925304_10150091431395304_11814672_2442907_n.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fintj253.blogspot.com%252F2012%252F01%252Fwhat-is-to-give-light-must-endure.html%3B664%3B498

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http://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+to+give+light+must+endure+burning&hl=en&sa=N&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=Q5EmUYT6BYGMiAK-8YCoBQ&ved=0CD4QsAQ4Cg&biw=1440&bih=784#imgrc=ViyroA4DnEBuzM%3A%3BZH1RFpNQ4UhGcM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F2.bp.blogspot.com%252F-Rx30JFjBzes%252FTv87P3O01oI%252FAAAAAAAAEDo%252FwXG86QuUbJY%252Fs1600%252FIMG_3371.JPG%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fdesignsparrow.blogspot.com%252F2011_12_01_archive.html%3B800%3B600

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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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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.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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7 Responses to Radical commitment, and nothing less, makes a marriage and/or odyssey in self-actualization thrive

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  3. 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

  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: In praise of Herb Alvarez: The symbol [Scripture reading] is not the thing [prompting of the Spirit] it represents — True interpretation depends neither on historical inquiry nor on erudite literary analysis but on attentiveness to the promptings of

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