Lecture%20Notes%20on%20Viktor%20Frankl%20Man%27s%20Search%20for%20Meaning-4.pdf - Charles W atsons Lecture Notes on Mans Search for Meaning in Mens


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Unformatted text preview: Charles W atson’s Lecture Notes on “Man’s Search for Meaning” in Men’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl advances a claim about a constitutive feature or fundamental attribute of the predicament and condition of human existence. According to Frankl, ”man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life (136).” Frankl makes the further assertion that meaning is possible even in spite of the unavoidability of suffering. Frankl writes: ”Even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed, when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves (135)." Question: How do we convert unavoidable suffering into a human achievement? How do we succeed in changing our attitude toward unalterable fate? Question: What is the question of the meaning of life? Each of us is questioned by life. Each must answer to and for his or her own life. The very essence of existence is being responsible for one’s own life; the present is past, and the past may yet be changed and amended. We are responsible to (and for): our temporality (the relationship to our present, past, and future); our finiteness (the relationship to our limited parcel or bundle of afforded resource; and, our finality (the relationship to our purposiveness, goal, or direction). According to Frankl, ” the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche (135).” Question: What does Frankl mean by the selfltranscendence of human existence? How does self- transcendence relate to his account of spiritual freedom? According to Frankl, we can discover meaning in life in three different ways: (i) by creating a work or doing a deed; (ii) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and, (iii) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. The way of achievement and accomplishment, the way of love; or to suffer bravely; that is, to somehow endure suffering in the sight waywthese are the avenues iaid out is}? hrankl for pursuit ot life‘s meaning, ,1 is sorrezinriiz’rgsf \ ”Euestéon: 2:; the hunter: Seeing arrogance and: anaeoédahiv éntinenceri it: we. i ”i 1r 3:; retro his eontizrct to: is certain WA agate s reignite of camp life force set pattern Frank: ciaéms that snare even én s23: terré Ee {instituting :2? §§j;’€i1i£ and pi’ifgsicai stress, {BEE p§€56?¥’é3 it @6356 E3? gifiifiiitgi gi‘tftfiifitfi, i Question: itihat is spirituai freedom? {See pages So: i: 1 want to suggest that the intensification of inner~life is a variety of self-transcendence. Franld writes: ”This intensification of inner life helped the prisoner find a refuge from the emptiness,” or sometimes even forget his own frightful circumstances. Question: What are the conditions for the possibility of spiritual freedom? Why does Frankl believe that this variety~spiritual freedom~cannot be taken away? How (it at all) can the Choice of one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances be frustrated, thwarted, or disfigured (malformation)? Frankl writes about ”those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.” in what Frankl calls ” the bitter fight for self—preservation,” one may ”forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal.” Question: How is such a forgetfulness possible? What material conditions of life could enable such psychical amnesia? I want to affirm a connection between forgetfulness, forfeiture, and dispossession; such a linkage is substantiated by the analysis of dismemberment, obfuscation, and invisibility. According to Frankl, to be worthy of my sufferingswthe way i bear them (as a genuine inner achievement)—-—is an act of spiritual freedom. Thus, I contend that spiritual freedom is the work of imagination’s play, grounding my interest in moral imagination and epistemic violence. l propose that self-transcendence, intensification of inner-life, spiritual freedom, and under the aspect of eternity are each acts of moral imagination (the activity of spiritual mobility and narrative transport), the work of imagination’s play. To conclude, here is a powerful example supporting the aforementioned approach: Frankl’s account of the manner in which ”my mind clung to my wife’s image,” namelymmental conversation and contemplation of the image of the beloved. Ideals of life and contemplation of the beloved as archetype are clear instances of cognitive agility, intellectual exercise, and narrative translation. Frankl describes the ”perpetual contemplation of an infinite gloryf’ he ciain‘is that ”soon my soni found its sea}! bad-z; from the prisoner’s existence to another world, and i resumed taiie with my ioeed one?” it’iiile oniy a fess? are capaieie or reaching siren high moral standards, hranici extois these sot ritual accoin piishrnents neeertieeiess. Question: sills/at is a ”pro, 3 ionai existence"? Why is the iite devoid o? a future {or a goal at which to aim society of ii? a e death ”a marchine at one’s own innerai ii???” iirfiiat is the 4 i“? ’ C: 1 ; relationship between a provisioned existence fifiii Frankl’s account of self-transcendence? ...
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  • Spring '14
  • Meaning of life, Frankl, Viktor Frankl, spiritual freedom

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