Where agency matters most
The essence of living, without emotion is something alien to human life, for life is only true when emotion is present. The essence of death, without mental and spiritual control is also alien to us; for death is only a physical thing, and we are more than just a physical thing. The question that now awaits us, is how. How can we have a choice in an undefeatable fate? How is there still a freedom for us to grasp, even unto the end of physical control? An endless list of questions in correlation with this idea may seem apparent, but after reading A Mans Search For Meaning, I have found one answer that can satisfy any question of that sort: As much as we are physical beings, we are also mental, and spiritual beings. We are not singular in nature; therefore, we are full of meaning; whether at a physical, mental, or spiritual level. Going into a mental aspect, you will see that the mind is the thing that pertains and evaluates our physical surroundings. Without the mind, there would be no emotion, no life; but even when our mind is soaring with evaluative enlightenment, and emotional understanding, there is still something we lack: The capability to spiritually comprehend the big picture. If we were able to have a broader perspective in that sense, death would not be a time of loss and mourning, and life would be viewed as more fragile and meaningful. Our mental capacity of evaluation is relatively small, compared to what a spiritual and eternal capacity is capable of; even life and death itself becomes insignificant if eternity is your comparison. Looking into Viktor Frankl’s experience,
we see a point, describing that a situation seeming to be very overwhelming at the time, is not overwhelming in the big picture. Thus we see there is more to a situation than a physical circumstance, there is a meaning. There is always a meaning in everything that happens to anybody in this world; and no matter what, nothing can take away the essence of survival in that meaning. Even unto ultimate despair, you still have a mind and freedom over your fate. How can a dire situation apply to us? The answer is through everyday trials. Through struggles and anxieties that are little in comparison to those that plague much of the world, but still teaches truth through the purpose of agency. In the case of A Mans Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl writes his account of his experience in a German concentration camp. This part of history, during World War 2 and the genocide of the Jews, was the darkest years in Jewish history. We come to a drastic situation, where the mental health becomes extremely important, and yet no one was prepared to face the pure evil of the camps. The author, (also the survivor) gave us horrifying accounts of what went on in those camps, and him being a psychologist puts us into a mental point of view of what the inmates were going through. Living in those concentration camps was not just an extreme physical struggle, it was to the same degree, a mental struggle; A struggle for meaning, purpose, and the will to keep living. Spiritual and mental refuge becomes the only thing that matters in physically exhausting circumstances. In the middle part of the book, Frankl describes an experience where he is starving, freezing, and working ruthlessly, on a railroad track. Though his physical turmoil was to ultimate extremes, Victor Frankl still found refuge and survival through the thoughts of his dead wife. He did not know she was dead at the time, but later (as written in the book), he describes why his love still lived: “Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved.
It find’s it’s deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually ...
Cited: ● Frankl, Viktor. A Man’s Search For Meaning. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. Print
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