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Postby RonPrice » Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:46 pm

When Man's Search for Meaning was first published in 1959, it was hailed by Carl Rogers(1902-1987), a founder of humanistic psychology, as "one of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years."

Now, more than fifty years and 5 million copies later, this tribute to hope in the face of unimaginable loss has emerged as a true classic. Man's Search for Meaning--at once a memoir, a self-help book, and a psychology manual-is the story of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's struggle for survival during his three years in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Yet rather than "a tale concerned with the great horrors," Frankl(1905-1997) focuses on the "hard fight for existence" waged by "the great army of unknown and unrecorded." 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's training as a psychiatrist allowed him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. In these inspired pages, he asserts that the "the will to meaning" is the basic motivation for human life. This simple and yet profound statement became the basis of his psychological theory, logotherapy, and forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering. As Nietzsche put it, "He who has a why for which to live can bear almost any how." Of course, this aphorism does not cover everyone for all of history, all of the time, and for our complex and unknown future. It's an aphorism with a great deal of wisdom behind it.

Frankl's seminal work offers us all an avenue to greater meaning and purpose in our own lives-a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the act of living. The Library of Congress/Book-of-the-Month Club called the book: "one of the ten most influential books in America." Patricia J. Williams, author of Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race, wrote that: "Viktor Frankl's timeless formula for survival is one of the classic psychiatric texts of our time, Man's Search for Meaning is a meditation on the irreducible gift of one's own counsel in the face of great suffering, as well as a reminder of the responsibility each of us owes in valuing the community of our humanity. There are few wiser, kinder, or more comforting challenges than Frankl's." I give Williams the last word here, although readers might like to continue on with my prose-poem. -Ron Price with thanks to Beacon Press, 29 January 2011.

I joined the Baha’i Faith that year,
in ’59, but had my hands full with
grade 10, autumn football, hockey
& my concupiscent control system.

I was comfortable in that smalltown
smugness of my childhood....born as
securely as we all were, then, into
salvation’s complacent trinity of:
Catholic, Protestant and Jew.......

My world was small, safe and so
familiar--and very white. Indians
were the bad guys who got licked
in movies on Saturday afternoons
amid candy wrappers & the girls
necking in the dark back row seats
with boys who seemed to me, then,
to have it all: for I was shy & quiet.

The tempest came slowly back then
in my childhood, snuck-up on me year
after year into the my adolescence; I
was lucky to survive the hurricane &
the psychological violence": my spot
of depression was frightening, and the
schizo-affective state had no label then.

But I came through it all and still I sang
the new song that up from the Siyah-Chal
it rose. I faltered, Lord; I quavered: yet I
sang---and still, Lord, I sing; I still sing.(1)

(1) Roger White, “New Song,” Another Song Another Season, George Ronald, Oxford, 1979, pp.116-118.

Ron Price
30/1/'11 to 2/3/'13.
Last edited by RonPrice on Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
married for 47 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer and editor for 15, and a Baha'i for 55(in 2014).
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:52 pm
Location: George Town Tasmania Australia
Blog: View Blog (5)

Postby johnwalkeasy » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:29 pm

Hello Ron, Your writings are very interesting.
Perfection is what drives an artist.
The inability to achieve perfection is what creates a work of art.
John A. Barandon
User avatar
Posts: 2648
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:16 pm
Location: Rex, Georgia USA
Blog: View Blog (1)

Thanks johnwalkeasy

Postby RonPrice » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:32 pm

Thanks, johnwalkeasy, for your encouraging words. Frankl has always interested me. You can, of course, google him at Wikipedia for a bit of a biography. I'll post below another piece I wrote in relation to his influence on me.-Ron
---------------------------------------- 8)

You can find a good part of yourself in the study of the Western intellectual tradition: its literature, its history and philosophy, its social sciences and humanities. You can experience this tradition as a personal adventure, as a place to question everything and affirm anything. You can slough it off or you can feel its renewing influences.

With the grand narratives, what some social theorists call meta-narratives, all having collapsed or redefined, extended or given-up for other meaning systems--- in the last, say, 160 years(2013-1853)---for many hundreds of millions of people, the individual is now often in the position of having to construct, to reconstruct, a self--from fragments, from new meta-histories, meta-narratives, from whatever he or she can find. -Ron Price with thanks to David Denby, Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World, Simon and Schuster, NY, 1996, p.457.

You can find yourself in all these books,
these fluid, cloudy waters where you
cannot see the bottom, clean sand,
smooth rocks and pebbles, plenty of
sea-weed and mud, though: you may
not get a clear view, only stormy, and
tempestuous waters, driving you away,
back to the movies, sex, gardening, or
nature, whatever......anything simple,
make it simple man!.....You might not
like what you see here among the words:
all the edges, choices, meanings, endless
words, down, down, down on the pages:
left, right, left right, ef, ight, ef, i, i, i...

The Arabs do it the other way, of course:
right to left in a most poetic script....Do
you know any Arabic.....it's a wonderful
language, but too late for me now in the
evening of my life. Can you dig all these
ideas, ideas which go round and round &
round, forever..It can bore you to death.

There is always so much more to see and
understand. You can never get it all, but
always, always there are the possibilities:
choices and meanings in a one transitory
moment and the next........and the next.

Ron Price
22/7/'98 to 2/3/'13.

* Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.191. Discusses how much of our life hinges on the meaning we find in the transitory moment, the essentially transitory possibilities.
married for 47 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer and editor for 15, and a Baha'i for 55(in 2014).
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:52 pm
Location: George Town Tasmania Australia
Blog: View Blog (5)

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