White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Viktor Frankl

"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life - daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." --Viktor Frankl

I have been fascinated by thoughts of this guy that I discovered last night. His popular book, Man's Search for Meaning, is on the top of my reading list now.

Many of his thoughts are contrary to the dominating commercial trend of our time (advocation of a greedy chase for the happiness). Frankl sees life's beauty as a side effect of dealing with all its complications and difficulties. He believes that happiness should not be chased, but be earned.

He values responsibility next to liberty and sees a strong value in the inconvenience that comes from the responsibility. And happiness and life's meaning come when we earn them. He advocates a pro-active attitude towards life at every moment which brings meaning to that moment and the life in general.

"What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment."

His stance towards truth and justice is a fair answer to the current rationalist attitude that dominates our apathetic societies:

"We must remain aware of the fact that as long as absolute truth is not accessible to us (and it never will be), relative truths have to function as mutual correctives. Approaching the one truth from various sides, sometimes even in opposite directions, we cannot attain it, but we may at least encircle it."

And as usual, I was impressed to see that Frankl is quite well-known in the Iranian intellectual circles and a few of his books have been translated. And he even holds a decent Wikipedia page.
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