(reading «Say «Yes» to Life» by Viktor Frankl)
Has all this suffering, this dying around us, a meaning? For, if not, then ultimately there is no meaning to survival; for a life whose meaning depends upon such a happenstance – as whether one escapes or not – ultimately would not be worth living at all.
Many of us heard about the outstanding psychotherapist, the founder of logotherapy (existential therapy), Viktor Frankl – a man who showed by personal example that there is the «inner freedom» in any person.
No one can rob or restrict this freedom because a man makes decisions anytime, in particular he decides whether to give up to the circumstances, to become a victim of occurrence or to preserve the «stubbornness of the human spirit» as he finds the meaning of life, the «beacon» to light his way…
I learned about V. Frankl in my first year of studying psychology; in the second year I learned about his theory and biography; and just now I have read his great work, which he, as a 119104, so much hoped to write when living in the violent, inhuman conditions of the concentration camp, a machine to destroy the human race and humanity.
And so I realized this book is incredible! Paradoxical it may sound, but the story is terribly amazing!
Each line bears incredibly optimistic meaning!
This book is about living for life-saving, excuse my tautology!
As I read this book, I felt compassion, and pain, and sorrow, and admiration, and even love…
Some phrases, sentences gave me insights, made me stop reading and think, go into my own self and just be with the thoughts about what I read…
There were moments when I wanted to mark some thoughts, to write them out, or to post them on the net; I wanted to start a quotation book for Frankl solely. I believe there are people who did so (to tell the truth, I did it when writing the article).
And so I decided to write this text and emphasize the main «bricks», or support points, or whatever you call it, that help us to gain and preserve ourselves, to LIVE, to actually live but not survive, or exist, or imitate living, by V. Frankl!
Here are these points along with the quotes:
- Spirituality, which includes:
– «withdrawal» – the opportunity to get back to the inner life, self-analysis, and self-reflection;
– love – «the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire!»
«A man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved!»
– ability to perceive the beauty of nature and arts;
«If someone had seen our faces on the journey from Auschwitz to a Bavarian camp as we beheld the mountains of Salzburg with their Experiences in a Concentration Camp 51 summits glowing in the sunset, through the little-barred windows of the prison carriage, he would never have believed that those were the faces of men who had given up all hope of life and liberty. Despite that factor—or maybe because of it—we were carried away by nature’s beauty, which we had missed for so long».
– strength of mind, dignity and dedication.
As you can see, a man needs to believe in something, to hope for something and love somebody. Spirituality by Frankl includes these all along with the strength of mind that increases based on the spirituality, thus enriching the latter!
- Humor – « the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation».
«It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds».
- Loneliness – as an opportunity to be alone with your thoughts. I recently heard a great thought by Uliana Shubko on the radio that loneliness is «a celebration alone with your soul!»
- Inner freedom – «the freedom to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances». This is the freedom to choose your way, your attitude to that what is happening, your thoughts and feelings about it.
- Confrontation with fate – overcoming the fate, desire for greater things, for something longed-for and indispensable rather than rebellion!
«Everywhere man is confronted with fate, with the chance of achieving something through his own suffering».
- «Attempts to look to the future» – visualizing and imagining the desired things as if they already happened, as if you already have what you dream about!
«By this method, I succeeded somehow in rising above the situation, above the sufferings of the moment, and I observed them as if they were already of the past».
- Purpose: «Those who have a «why» to live, can bear with almost any «how» (F. Nietzsche).
- Mental set to use any «ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances – to add a deeper meaning to your life».
- Understanding that it is life that asks questions and we are to not to ask but to find answers.
«Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes a man may be required simply to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand».
- Responsibility toward others and work
«A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the «why» for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any «how».
In conclusion, I’d like to quote the comprehensive concept by V. Frankl:
«Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment!»
I recommend you to read «Say «Yes» to Life» and find your own meanings in this book; you will learn more about Frankl and his camp experience, and possibly even more…
One way or another, the book will definitely touch you!
Author Oksana Bondar
Translator Nataly Bondarenko
Original text Мужество и наслаждение жить