“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”

“Once, an elderly general practitioner consulted me because of his severe depression. He could not overcome the loss of his wife who had died two years before and whom he had loved above all else. Now how could I help him? What should I tell him? I refrained from telling him anything, but instead confronted him with a question, “What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive without you?:” “Oh,” he said, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!” Whereupon I replied, “You see, Doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it is you who have spared her this suffering; but now, you have to pay for it by surviving and mourning her.”…

– Told Viktor Frankl in his book “Man’s Search For Meaning

And me – “What if I die? What will my family do? Could they possibly live with the burden?” – Like some of you, this thought had crossed my mind at least once in my lifetime. But never have I thought of it in that kind of situation, which I have dealt with before.

Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist, holocaust survivor and originator of Logotherapy, explains in his book about his method of therapy which helped 30,000 out of 30,000 suicidal patients (first time in history) out of depression. Logotherapy is based on the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the main and most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.

Here’s my theory: Many things can be your sources of meaning in life, but at least one of them needs to be under your control.

Why?:

What is under your control cannot be taken away from you, ever, and it is something you can achieve under any circumstances; success, self-fulfillment and helping others are things you can achieve not instantly, but wherever and whenever. Think about a man without a family, relationship, fortune or assets – could he or could he not help others?

One if not the primary meanings of the Doctor’s life was his life partner, that had passed away. But what Frankl gave him – the understanding of the better consequences, that he’s taking the suffering of loneliness and yearning for her, is something that will forever stay.

I hope this post inspires you to think about things, people or goald that are meaningful and makes you happy. These are my sources of meaning in life:

  • Success
  • Helping others
  • My loving family
  • Inspiring others

Following that, there are some meaningful things I would like to achieve:

  • To leave a legacy
  • Creating a school of thought
  • Being able to share that school of thought with people who deserve it
  • Help people to join the bright side – from depression to happiness, and teach my method to as many people as possible.

Ask yourself – “What are MY sources of meaning in life? What are the meaningful things I would like to achieve?”

Please share with me your thoughts and, we could talk about it, maybe? 🙂

Love,

-Ro

“…He said no word but shook my hand and calmly left the office.”

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6 thoughts on ““Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”

  1. I often wonder if there’s any meaning to life at all. I often wonder if there’s any meaning to MY life at all. But then, existential philosophy and psychology, to which Frankl belongs, claims the meaning of life is the meaning we make of it. I’ve always liked that philosophy.
    I’m finding it very hard to think of the meaning for me at the moment, but as for the goals, I guess I’d like to make a change. Be able to change people’s lives for the better. Leave a lasting impression on the people I love. Be loved and be happy. Do what I love.
    I’ll catch you on Sunday? Really need to talk about something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a legit thing to think if you do have no source of meaning to your life. I think it’s very brave to admit that. It’s just the bottom start. I believe most people do think that but, maybe are too scared to admit because it could be wrongly interpreted as weak or seek for attention. The hardest but most right thing to do from now is configuring where and how to give your life a meaning. It’s doable 🙂 I’ll be posting more about it in my next posts. Talk to you on Sunday ♥

      Like

  2. People ask you “what do you mean?”? Are they trying to imitate Justin Bieber or what?

    On-topic:
    This is true. Physical conditions aren’t the be-all-end-all. It’s not enough to just have food and a roof over your head. Telling people who are depressed to be thankful they at least have that misses the point.

    Although suicide is unique to humans, self-harm is not. If you put your parrot in a cage, feed it but not give it attention, not give it any toys it will harm itself. I’m not talking about just ripping off feathers but wounds that bleed.

    That’s because, despite having everything for survival, the parrot had no meaning in his life. It had no one to communicate with or something to entertain it. Once you have the means of continuing life, you need a reason to continue it.

    Psychological conditions are a serious subject, but they’re sadly written off by many people.

    ” success, self-fulfillment and helping others are things you can achieve not instantly, but wherever and whenever.” – I don’t think these are things you ever achieve. They are not achievements, they are processes. They always go on and never end, and that’s a good thing. Because they’re eternal, they only give us more to do and never go back to meaninglessness.

    Now, I’m in the right-to-die who don’t see suicide as a negative thing (It’s a fundamental right), but anyway this is a very good post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I seriously wanted to write “”what do u mean” -JB”.

      I agree only that, a cage is not a parrot’s natural habitat, therefore it will not “naturally” harm itself. It will because of boundaries made by humans.

      You’re right. Success is a process made up of big or small, far or close goals. And it is very beautiful, because it’s a never ending sense satisfaction, failures, learning and growing. And I’m saying never-ending because, a legacy of your success can stay and keep inspiring forever. Guess I could’ve described it better in the post 🙂

      It’s hard for me to define suicide as a negative thing for humans (for me specifically it is) but I wouldn’t describe it as neutral or at the same weight as choosing to live because, it’s like a plan where you don’t have alternatives (I don’t count other’s alternative for a depressed person, like the “you should go to a therapist!” – it’s best explained here: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.co.il/search?updated-max=2013-10-02T14:53:00-06:00&max-results=10 ) and, I believe finding your meaning in life could be a better alternative then suicide, simply because let’s talk numbers- 30,000 out of 30,000 patients?! It has to prove something, doesn’t it? 🙂

      Thanks for the feedback, Jonathan! ♥

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      • “I agree only that, a cage is not a parrot’s natural habitat, therefore it will not “naturally” harm itself. It will because of boundaries made by humans.” – It has more to do with habitats being natural or not, and more to do with the traits of these habitats (appeal to nature is a fallacy).
        In the forest, the parrot is surrounded by other birds and things to keep him busy. He’s surrounded by things to do.
        In a cage with nothing, he has nothing.
        There hasn’t been research to prove whether parrots are happier in captivity or in the wild. It’s possible to design a better environment for parrots – one that allows them to put more effort into communicating and entertaining themselves, rather than constantly securing means of survival.

        Suicide isn’t necessarily a plan when you don’t have alternatives. Some people want to want to live, but they can’t handle their current some situation.

        Some people just don’t see the point. It’s like when you’re watching a movie and it’s horrible. Some will want to stay, hoping it will improve or to make the time spent amount to something. Others will just exit.

        That’s a discussion for a different time.

        Like

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