Who can weigh the ballast of someone else’s suffering or someone else’s love? We live – with our suffering and love, with our enormous capacity for beauty and our enormous capacity for suffering – and balance the weight of existence with the irrepressible power of life. The question is always what feeds the force and envelops the ballast.
Viktor Frankl (March 26, 1905 – September 2, 1997) After Frankl has lost his mother, father and brother to the most colossal moral failure of our civilization to date and has barely survived, Frankl takes up the question of what life is not only viable makes, but also worthy to live in how it lives now Yes to life: Despite everything (public library) – a lean, powerful series of lectures that he gave only eleven months after the Holocaust when he was finishing the manuscript of the classic Man’s search for meaning.
Frankl’s immensely revealing meditations on optimism and pessimism, in order to find the deepest source of meaning, contain a passage of great subtlety and grandeur – a portal to a truth that is so elementary that it could seem banal if it were only as Abstract truism is called one that emerges titanically and majestically from the melting pot of this person’s unfathomable lived experience.
In a sublime testament to the unique power of music, which some of the greatest minds of mankind have so highly praised, Frankl writes:
It is not only through our actions that we can give meaning to life – as long as we can answer life’s specific questions responsibly – we can meet the requirements of existence not only as active actors but also as loving people: in our loving devotion to beauty , the great, the good. Maybe I should try to explain to you in a hackneyed sentence how and why experiencing beauty can make life meaningful? I’d rather limit myself to the following thought experiment: Imagine sitting in a concert hall listening to your favorite symphony, and your favorite bars of the symphony ringing in your ears, and you’re so moved by the music that sends tremors on your spine ; and now imagine that it would be possible (something so psychologically impossible) that someone would ask you at that moment if your life made sense. I think you would agree if I said that you could only give one answer in this case, and it would be something like: “It would have been worth living alone for this moment!”
More than a century after Mary Shelley celebrated nature as the lifeline of reason, wondering what makes life worth living in a deadly pandemic world, and decades before Tennessee Williams was approaching his own death, he thought, ” We live in a constantly burning building life, and what we have to save from it all the time is love … love for each other and the love that we incorporate into the art that we have to share: being parents; Be a writer; Be a painter; to be a friend, ”adds Frankl:
Those who experience not the arts but nature can have a similar reaction, as can those who experience another person. Do we not know the feeling that overtakes us when we are in the presence of a certain person and roughly translated: The fact that this person exists in the world at all makes this world and a life in it alone meaningful.
Frankl concludes how we suffer and how we love is the measure of who and what we are:
How people deal with the limitation of their possibilities, how this affects their actions and their ability to love, how they behave under these restrictions – how they accept their suffering under such restrictions – in all of this they still remain capable of fulfilling human values.
How we deal with difficulties really shows who we are.
Yes to life is a lean, spectacular reading in its entirety. Complement this fragment with Borges about the transformation of trauma misfortune and humiliation into raw materials for art and Whitman, shortly after his paralytic stroke, about what makes life worth living, and repeat Frankl about humor as a lifeline to survive.
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