Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Think for Your Own Damn Self!

When I have completed the final entry I will place a "Finished" word here!
Viktor E. Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" was one of the most profound books of my life. I have not read it in years, but I remember how it moved me and how it made me think and change. My first reading was when I was about 30 years old . . . (never mind what year that was!)

The book is about Viktor's experiences in the concentration camps . . . how his life went from comfortable psychiatrist with a home, family and friends . . . to nothing but the skin on his back. It describes  how a person can go from here to there and how this person can keep from being destroyed by others,  while maintaining the personal integrity necessary to live the life they choose from inside. That is how I remember this book.  Let's see if my memories suffice . . . or if something new will come from the new reading.

I bought many copies (over the years) and handed them out to people and didn't think I had another copy . . . yet, I just found one on my shelves of many books. So I am determined to read this small yet most meaningful book and record my sentiments and thoughts along the way, here on this post. I also wish to reflect on this book's thoughts through the prism of today and today's issues:

Step by tiny step we learn that
we can be changed;
      we can become accustomed,
to the horrors surrounding us,
and accept
the dawning of our own destruction,
and we wait
to see what other steps to take.. .. ..
                                      there are always more
as we head toward that inevitable
and dreadful dusk. . .
but we are
for we are never alone .. .. ..
          no, we accept the status quo
because there are others 
by our side.

and yet for those who
leave the beaten track
and look from beyond
                  the chasm
to see another story.. .. ..
they see
a million billion strong,
men, women, and children.. .. ..
choosing to dig their own grave
without a question,
not looking into any other face,
not daring
for questions may be there . . .
And the horrors reflected from
within each other's eyes.

" . . ..  We did not know their meaning. My imagination led me to see gallows with people dangling on them. I was horrified, but this was just as well, because step by step we had to become accustomed to a terrible and immense horror." 1946 (ibid.)

We reach a point in our small existence
When we realize, we are all we have,
that there is nothing else
to haunt us
or redeem us;
nothing promised
from the beginning,
but a mere moment,
and a slim chance
to survive .. .. ..
We realize that this is all we have,
it is here.. .. ..
within our hearts
beneath our bare flesh
nestled below the white bone
and in the skull, a treasure,
a reality we construct
from the meanings 
we realize
as we grope through life.

"Thus the illusions some of us still held were destroyed one by one, and then, quite unexpectedly, most of us were overcome by a grim sense of humor. We knew that we had nothing to lose except our so ridiculously naked lives. . ." 1946 (ibid.)

I think; I dream; I hope .. ..
that we can all be understood .. .
and when we truly try to understand each other.. ..
there is knowledge . . .
and when there is knowledge .. ..
there is love . . . 
and when there is love .. .
there is inner peace. . .
and when there is inner peace . . .
there again, we truly try to understand each other . . .

But it all begins with the openness of communication
Hearing and speaking . . . 
July 10, 2010 

"A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth--that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.  I understood how 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. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way -- an honorable way -- in such a position man can,through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory." "  1946(Ibid.)

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms --to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Dostoevski said once, "There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings." .. .. ..It is this spiritual freedom -- which cannot be taken away --  that makes life meaningful and purposeful.

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."  1946 (Ibid.)



sylviane said...

Dear orangeupurple,

First you made us dream,
Then you made us learn,
Now you make us think,
about life.

Thank you.


Wolfsong said...

You're welcome, Sylviane, thank you for your very kind comment.