5-takeaways:12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson.

I’ll start by saying this, I do not agree with all of whatDr. Peterson says, however, A LOT, if not all, of what he has written in this book is very useful information and some of the rules are great guidelines to live by. One of the rules that makes this list is related to this topic of “because you may dislike someone’s viewpoints doesn’t mean that everything they say should now be dismissed.” (Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.) There are a lot of things he says that I disagree with, including his view of mother/father parenting being the best way to raise a child, I know a few who have been raised by single mothers, or a lesbian or gay couples who are fantastic people, and I know of horrible people who have been brought up in the more traditional mother/father parenting dynamic. Still though I like a lot of what he talks about. One of the main reasons that I was drawn to and am interested in what Dr. Peterson has to say is his point that before pointing blame others or a system that does not favor you, first focus on the things that are in your control. Don’t give something or someone else control over the outcome of your life, otherwise, you will forever be powerless in the face of any chaos. That helpless feeling can be a very taxing one, one that can be debilitating, even fatal. The following list is my 5-takeaways (or top 5 rules in this case)of 12 Rules for Life, hope you too can take something away.

1. Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.

Peterson uses many religious stories throughout the book, she has studied the psychology of the many archetypical stories found throughout the Bible and a few other religious texts. He also touches on a variety of literature and movies, including Disney classics and works from notable thinkers like Nietzsche, Solzhenitsyn, and Descartes. One such reference that stood out was T. S. Eliot’s explanation of a character in his play The CocktailParty, who “is not having a good time of it.” And Peterson’s take on it, as follows:

                “She speaks of her profound unhappiness to a psychiatrist. She says she hopes that all her suffering is her own fault. The psychiatrist is taken aback. He asks why. She has thought long and hard about this, she says, and has come to the following conclusion: if it’s her fault, she might be able to do something about it. If it’s God fault, however – if reality itself is flawed, hell-bent on ensuring her misery – then she is doomed. She couldn’t change the structure of reality itself. But maybe she could change her own life.”

As a human being, you have sole responsibility of your attitude towards life, and if you can take on the burden of knowing that your outcome is dictated by your actions then you can make a start of improving, not only your life but the lives of those around you. Peterson is famous for saying “clean up your room,” in his Alberta-Canadian accent. This is not meant in a “do as your told,” way, it is meant as a, “start with something small that is easily available and achievable” way. Then once you have cleaned up your room, move on to the rest of the house, and bit by bit, if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, even in the face of setbacks, slowly your life will be more in order. Leading on to the next rule.

2. Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

This is something that I constantly struggle with, I wish that I could be traveling more, or I could own a few houses already, or be a business owner. Whatever it is I forget that the person that I desperately want to be worked hard to get to where they are now. That for my own self-esteem, the comparison does not have the desired effect. When I get reminded that I am on my own path and that I should use the person’s success as motivation for what I could become, that’s when I focus on being better than the me of yesterday, it might be in the gym, or learning something new, sorting out my life in some fashion. That is when I move forward, one step at a time. Knowing full well that I need to put in the work and have the dedication to persist in the task.

“You are discovering who you are, and what you want, and what you are willing to do. You are finding that the solutions to your particular problems have to be tailored to you, personally and precisely. You are less concerned with the actions of other people because you have plenty to do yourself.”

Of course, to improve you must see the faults that you need to work on. To not see your flaws means that you are the perfect human and that you have nothing to work on. Which would be a lie, not only do you have to make constant adjustments in yourself for your well-being but for the well-being of those around you. Of course, you can lie to yourself and those around you that everything is fine, however, your internal voice/subconscious will become louder as you keep lying, and deeper you will fall into a pit that only you will be able to drag yourself out of.

3. Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

If I could write out most of this chapter I would, but then I might be up for plagiarism. Peterson uses a lot of religious and personal anecdotes of patients or clients that have come to his practice. However, if you only take one thing from this it would be the paragraph below:

“As God himself claims(so goes the story), “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”According to this philosophy, you do not simply belong to yourself. You are not simply your own possession to torture and mistreat. This is partly because your being is inexorably tied up with that of others, and your mistreatment of yourself can have catastrophic consequences for others. This is most clearly evident, perhaps, in the aftermath of suicide, when those left behind are often both bereft and traumatized. But, metaphorically speaking there is also this: you have a spark of the divine in you, which belongs not to you, but to God. Weare after all – according to Genesis – made in His image. We have the these-divine capacity for consciousness. Our consciousness participates in the speaking forth of Being. We are low-resolution (“kenotic”) versions of God. We can make order from chaos – and vice versa – in our way, with our words. So, we may not exactly be God, But we’re exactly nothing, either.”

I know it’s a lot to take in, however, the words have that kind of remembered-truth, “remembered” in the sense that deep down every human knows that they have the potential to be great or do great things. All anyone has to do is treat themselves with the respect that they would give to the person that they could become, not the person they were or are currently.

4. Rule 12: Pet a Cat When You Encounter one on the street.

Suffering is part and parcel of Being, Being in the sense of the state of existing or existence. At any point in life, either you yourself are struggling or a loved one is. Very rarely, and I would say that close to never has there been a point in my life when neither I nor a close friend or family member was dealing with some obstacle. I currently have no ailments; however, a close family friend is currently battling cancer for the third time. And yet, somehow, through all his and his families suffering, he still has the attitude he has always had, one of never giving up, one of child-like wonder and humor and a thorough love of life. He may not know it fully, but the impact that he has on many is almost as large as his personality. Peterson touches on his daughter’s life-long degenerative joint disease and how it has impacted him, how he could have cursed the world and human existence, yet faced with the limitation of being – suffering is the limitation placed on humans– Peterson understood that suffering is a part of living, much like Viktor Frankl in his classic, Man’s Search for meaning.

“If you are already everything, everywhere, always, there is nowhere to go and nothing to be. Everything that could happen already has. And it is for this reason, so the story goes, that God created man. No limitations, no story. No story, no Being.”

Make a story, despite your limitations. Always remember though, that when an opportunity arises, to pat a dog or cat, or do something to distract you from all the sorrow life has to offer, only for a little while.“Maybe you can steal ten or twenty minutes to do some little ridiculous thing that distracts you or reminds you that you can laugh at the absurdity of existence.”

5. Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.

If you remember this is the rule I mentioned in the intro, and this I reckon is one of the more important rules Peterson lays out in the book. I myself struggled with this one growing up, I still check myself sometimes especially when meeting someone new, or someone who I have heard about from friends or family. Which as awful as it sounds, a lot of people will unknowingly make biased assessments of people and will automatically either give their undivided attention or completely disregard everything they say. The chance that they know something you don’t is higher than you think. Obviously, this goes the other way too, so when mutual respect of the other person’s knowledge is achieved, the conversation can become a more productive one, the where common ground can be established.

The other point of this rule is to listen, not think about how you will retort and flatten their argument with something witty, but to actually listen. Listen with the intent of taking in what the other person is saying. Peterson includes a Carl Rodgers quote that I thought was an interesting take on this topic.

“The great majority of us cannot listen; we find ourselves compelled to evaluate, because listening is too dangerous. The first requirement is courage, and we do not always have it.”

I know what you’re thinking, how could listening be dangerous? Well, the danger hides in your own insecurities, maybe you’re not right, maybe you are completely wrong. The main danger, however, is not in being wrong, but having your outlook or views changed, and these may be views that you hold so dear and close that they hold up part of your personality. Continuing:

“some of you may be feeling that you listen well to people, and that you have never seen such results. The chances are that your listening has not been of the type I have described.”

Everyone thinks that they are good listeners, I know I did until I started really trying to pay attention when speaking to people. Oh how wrong I was, I always would try to come up with an “I’m-better-than-you” retort, or be extremely dismissive of what they had to say. Straw manning their point of view. Definitely not a great way to listen. Peterson notes that the form of listening that Rodgers suggest is one where you repeat the person’s argument back to them, at a standard that they see fit. This does two things, you listen, but you understand their point of view.

As I have said, Peterson is not everyone’s cup of tea, but he is very good at translating complex ideas for those of us who have no prior background in psychology or mythology. The life advice found throughout the book is amazing and the 12 rules can be used as great guidelines to navigate the chaos and suffering. If you have no idea who Jordan Peterson is and enjoyed this article I can definitely recommend looking him up, his lectures can bewatch on YouTube and on multiple podcasts, such as the Joe Rogan Experience and the Jocko Podcast. I hope you enjoyed my 5 takeaways of Peterson’s book, 12Rules for Life.

See ya on the mats.

~Carlos

Why the change?

I have recently changed the name of the site to carlosygoa.com since I felt that readnroll.blog limited me in what I could and could not post about, I am in no way shape or form moving away from what I have been doing. This is just an update about the change. I Hope that you all understand.

Thanks

Carlos

Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl – Part 2

MSFM

Continuing on from part one of this review, I will look at the second part of the book, where Frankl covers his theory of logotherapy and how he had used his experiences in Nazi death camps to help him in reinforcing it. Logotherapy is a form of psychoanalysis where there is “less retrospective and less introspective” methods used, meaning that the thoughts or past experience of the patient or subject are not as thoroughly examined. Instead, the future of the patient, in the sense of what they must achieve or what meanings to fulfill.

Logotherapy, taking the Greek word Logos, which signifies “meaning”, so patients are made to confront and examine the meaning of their life. Once given a meaning, they are able to turn their focus away from any feedback-loops from hell, which would otherwise have a chance to develop into neuroses. Breaking down the self-centered ego instead of feeding it. Giving motivation to the will of meaning, instead of following Freudian psychoanalysis or Adlerian psychology which would be the will to pleasure or the will to power, respectively. Each with their own problems, chasing happiness or pleasure often doesn’t end well as you will consistently be striving for it as one can never truly attain happiness. While striving for power also looks to attain superiority in some form over others, usually seen as an inferiority complex, of wanting to compensate for something that the person doesn’t have. Each of the three Viennese schools of Psychotherapy hold conflicting ideas, however, I think that each has some merit in some form and I suggest that you have a look into each and come up with your own assessment.

Back to Logotherapy and Frankl’s will to meaning. Frankl dictates that only the individual can fulfill the unique and specific meaning that he gives his own life. Meaning that the person must take it upon themselves to give their life meaning, one that they will not only live for but also die for. He goes on to reference a couple of public-opinion polls and studies done, all with very similar results. One done in France showed that 89% of the people acknowledged that man needs “something” to live for, and 61% said that they had something or someone in their lives that they were ready to die for. The polls showing that the thirst for meaning in one’s life is exceptional, considering that out of almost 8000 students from 48 colleges, 78% said their first goal in life was “finding a purpose and meaning to my life”. I would also fall into that category; however, I do not look back at my suffering and become paralyzed by it, I use all my experiences as a base to stand on, I look to the future of what I could achieve as a way to bring meaning to my life. It may be in the form of relationships, hobbies, career, side projects or hustles, And I have built a matrix of meaning so as to not make it that I am defined by only one meaning.

Finding a meaning can become a frustrating task, and as Frankl calls it “existential frustration”, which can result in the person forever searching and not coming to a solid meaning. Frankl states that existential in this circumstance may refer to the following:

  • Existence itself, “specifically the human mode of being”
  • The meaning of existence
  • Striving to find a concrete meaning in personal existence

I have had these thoughts, and I often came to the common thought that life is meaningless and that ultimately, I also have no meaning. However, my views have begun to slowly change. That yes life may not have a meaning, however, it is up to me to give it meaning. I touched on this briefly, that the memories that we leave behind are a big part of the meaning that we can give ourselves, on a piece dedicated to a friend’s father. Where memories that you share with others can give your life meaning. I have seen firsthand how someone can see the frustration with not having a meaning. You can often get yourself into a vicious cycle of negative thinking that can be difficult to recover from.

Frankl covers that this search for meaning may, instead of bringing the desired effect of inner equilibrium, it instead brings inner tension. This tension though is only a byproduct and referring back to Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” The tension Frankl speaks of is “the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish.” This is part of human nature, to be able to look both backward at what you have done, but also towards the future to dream of the things you want to do. So, one should not be afraid or scared of challenging themselves with a potential meaning, even if it may not be one that they ultimately go for. This allows one to suffer for a task or reason that they chose. An interesting comment that Frankl makes on therapists, as follows:

“So if therapists wish to foster their patients’ mental health, they should not be afraid to create a sound amount of tension through a reorientation toward the meaning of one’s life.”

Obviously not overloading their patient with a challenge that is far out of their mental level of sorts, but slowly having them set goals or achievements that they will be able to find meaning in.

If one doesn’t find meaning or lacks the awareness of a meaning that may be right in front of them, often they will complain about feeling empty. They find themselves in what Frankl describes as “The Existential Vacuum”. This Vacuum is in part due to one either wanting to do what other people do, or doing what others tell him to do. There is a responsibility placed on one’s shoulders whether they want it or not, one must choose what they want to suffer for. So, for instance, the elderly person who has just retired who’s meaning was their career. Now they have all this spare time and just sit at home depressed, not knowing what to do. They go to a therapist and asked to be cured. However, if they find a meaning that they can involve themselves in, like for instance a new hobby, or maybe at a community facility like helping out at a Men’s Shed program, or at their local sports center. Frankl says that with logotherapy almost anyone can find a meaning to their life, and ultimately find a meaning to their suffering.

Frankl goes on to describe what someone can do when they ask themselves, what is the meaning of their life? Knowing that no one will share their own meaning with another and that it may even change from year to year, like in chess how there is no best move, there is only such a thing as a good move, and it is solely dependent on the situation. Life is much the same, there is no best meaning, as it is totally dependent on the time and place of the moment in the person’s life. However, as each situation in one’s life signifies a trial to overcome, it is solely up to them to solve it. Ultimate responsibility.

“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to now.”

Living with this in mind allows one to grasp each situation and decision, whilst being confronted with their own finite time on this earth. Having experienced suffering, I took on the idea that instead of complaining, why me, why did I get this shit hand. I took it upon myself to not let it win and beat me. Because I noticed that I could turn what would seem like a tragedy, into a triumph. I could overcome my battle, and use it as a way to show people that if you have the mindset of the suffering is meaningful in the sense that life has given you a test to grow in, then I would too overcome my situation. Frankl uses an example of an elderly GP that came to him for his severe depression. He had lost his wife and could not overcome the grief. Frankl asked the doctor a question, “What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?” This way of thinking is crucial when going through suffering. As it gives the suffering meaning, and in the doctor’s case he found meaning in his suffering, and instead of having in a woe is me attitude, it shifted to an attitude of I would rather suffer through it than my wife.

In life, we are all able to change our attitude, and you can say that it is easier for some compared to others, or that I have not been through what you have been through so I wouldn’t understand. And you are right, I couldn’t understand what you specifically are going through. However, like every human that has ever lived and will ever live, I have suffered. I know I am not special and have been able to shift my attitude to help me in dealing with it. So, find your reason or meaning for your suffering, as it doesn’t matter about the hand you are dealt, it’s how you play your hand that matters. And this little snippet I found quite interesting, Frankl talks about how an old man need not envy a younger man as the old man has lived his life.

“Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy.”

Living a life and being proud of each moment, so instead of becoming paralyzed by what has one has suffered and instead look at it as suffering one has endured and come out the other side with battle scars to be proud of. I at first wasn’t a fan of the scars I was left with, but as they tell a big part of my story I have grown to love them (plus, I’ve been told chicks dig scars).

Part two of Man’s search for meaning is littered with anecdotes provided by Frankl, each explaining one of his patient’s cases. From child abuse, to grieving, to sleep deprivation, he explains the principles behind logotherapy and how in each case the patient’s attitude can be changed and reoriented to a new meaning or used in a way that is quite paradoxical. In the case of sleep deprivation, Frankl advised the patient to try to not fall asleep, in doing so, the patient’s anxiety of not being able to sleep was reversed and now he wished for no sleep. Ultimately getting the desired result of sleep.

I have been able to touch and deliver only a few of the gold nuggets of information I came across in this book, and I can only recommend that you read it yourself. For a $10 book it is packed with so many ideas that will challenge your own ideas and like me, it may even change your life. I will finish this post with one quote from Frankl.

“In the concentration camps,.. we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.”

Please like, comment, share and follow.

See you on the mats.

Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl – Part 1

MSFM

Man’s Search for Meaning

Having been recommended by a couple of friends to give it a read, and having seen it referenced in a few books and by notable figures I follow. There are two main parts of the book, the first part covering Frankl’s experiences in the concentration camps, and the second Frankl briefly states his theory of logotherapy and how one can apply it to one’s own life. The title of the book says everything about what I have been trying to do and what I am currently doing. And in reading it I have thought hard about the things in my life that bring it meaning and how I can develop and bring life more meaning. The book is an eye-opener and I suggest everyone to read it, as I will only cover so much of the book and will not be able to bring the full impact that it delivers. In the foreword of the book, it states that “this book is less about his travails, what he suffered and lost, than it is about the sources of his strength to survive.” Already one page down an I knew that I would have to share all that I learn to those of you that read my blog. I hope I can do this great book justice.

Frankl starts the main parts of the book with a preface, where he touches on why he wrote the book and how he initially wanted to publish it anonymously as to bring him no fame. However, thankfully he was persuaded by friends to at least release it with his name on the title page.  He also covers why he thinks that his book is not a best seller due to the thought-provoking content but rather of the times, in so much as that a book like this is read by millions searching for meaning in their lives and in their suffering. He recounts the story as to why he stayed in Austria, even though he had an immigration visa to continue his studies on logotherapy in America. Where he could not make his mind up between leaving and developing his theory or staying and looking after his parents. Through a piece of marble with a Hebrew letter engraved on it, which he asked his father what it stood for. The reply was “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy day may be long upon the land” which he states was the moment he made his decision.

Part one, as said above, covers Frankl’s experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. I wish I could include some of the whole pages in here as there is so much to relay to you. Frankl states that this book is not about the great horrors or the mighty who stood up to it but it is more about the millions of common prisoners, their sacrifices, and their psychology. Frankl states that there are three phases of an inmate’s mental reactions to camp life: the period following his admission, the period when he is well entrenched in camp routine, and the period following his liberation. He covers each of these throughout part one giving examples of each from his point of view and from what he observes.

He goes on to describe the train’s arrival to Auschwitz, and how upon the carriage doors being flung open a group of prisoners ran inside the station. He notes that they looked well fed and in high spirits, and his optimism that camp life might not be so bad and that he may be able to hold a position like that of the prisoners standing before him. Frankl states the condition in psychiatry known as “delusion of reprieve”, where at the last minute one hopes that the terrible situation turns around for them (often seen in death row inmates immediately before their execution). Noting that almost everyone, including him, all under the impression that things were going to be alright. I too have felt something akin to this, where after a few tests, I would be cleared of not having to go in for surgery. I believe this comes from the optimism that everyone has in dire straits, and one trying to protect themselves. I always said throughout my battle that I would hope for the best but expect the worst, this was a way to combat the feeling of ‘it can’t be happening to me.’

After recounting the horrors on the first day at Auschwitz, Frankl continues, “Thus the illusions some of us still had were destroyed… , and then quiet unexpectedly, most of us were overcome by a grim sense of humor.” To my friends, during my ordeal, I would frequently joke about my situation and my mortality. Once, the realization of the situation and the fact that it is very real and there is no way out, this humor comes out. I thought of it as a defense mechanism of sorts, as to reduce the seriousness of the situation, and why not make a joke about something so serious, there is a small chance that your life may end, why put yourself through more stress and focus on all that is bad.

There are many more aspects that Frankl talks about in the first phase, the longing for home and loved ones, the disgust in what was around him in the camps, the empathy towards other prisoners when they would be punished. However, once the prisoner had moved into the second phase, they would no longer look away when these beatings would happen, they had lost their emotion and watch unmoved. Emotions of disgust, pity or horror would no longer be felt, they had become desensitized to all that was around them. Frankl recounts many stories of things he saw but did not flinch at, a 12-year old’s toes being snapped off as they had become frostbitten, seeing typhus patients die before his eyes and others pinch the dead’s clothing and shoes. He does note that he only remembers the lack of emotion due to his surprise from a professional standpoint. I can only say that the only time I have had a similar feeling of desensitization is from my many blood tests and my hospital stays. I used to hate needles and would feel faint whenever I got them, I now have no problem with them, I no longer feel faint and feel nothing. Yet another way of protecting oneself from the situation.

Even through all this, Frankl still states that there was art, songs being sung, jokes being told, all in the effort to forget and even those that were fatigued, would miss food to witness the group and laugh with them. Frankl notes that humor is one defense that the brain uses to fight suffering. He uses an analogy to help explain how if you have no humor and let suffering take over your thoughts you will be absorbed by it completely.

“a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill it completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus, suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of the human suffering is absolutely relative.”

Frankl continues that those that let the suffering take hold, they would often never be able to come back from it and slowly wither away and die. After some time, prisoners would be able to pick who would go next with relative accuracy, this was just another aspect of the second phase of camp psychology.

Frankl recounts his first morning when one of his old colleagues, who had arrived at Auschwitz a few weeks before him, came into his block to comfort and calm the men. He urged the men to take it upon themselves to have a little discipline, shave daily if possible, to look younger, and for them to look fit for work. Stand tall and walk upright, even if they had blisters that caused them to limp. Otherwise, there was the high chance of them being noticed that they are not able to work and they would be sent to the gas chambers. I believe that discipline is often overlooked as a means to live a good life. As I wake up most days at 5am I often get asked why do I do it. The answer being quite simple, If I get up and out of bed at 5 I am able to fit more into my day. Starting with gym or jiu-jitsu, then I have won the first part of my day and allows me to focus on the next task, work or whatever may follow. The next question usually is but then how are you able to do anything else if you have such a strict timetable. This is often a great misconception, being disciplined doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else. This is the counterintuitive part, I have more time because I am disciplined, I can do more as I don’t deviate or get sidetracked. It also gets me into the mindset of completing tasks and I feel good when I win that challenge. I think that this would be the most important part of discipline in the death camps, having the attitude that you have won that part of your day, or you won that day.

A constant throughout the book is that everything can be taken from a man, except his attitude, and that life is not complete without suffering. Therefore, man is constantly confronted with choices, choices of his attitude, thoughts, words, and actions. Most of the prisoners had the attitude that life had already passed them, and there were no more opportunities in life though they would be wrong to think that, as Frankl writes:

“Yet, in reality, there was an opportunity and a challenge. One could make a victory of those experiences, turning life into an inner triumph, or one could ignore the challenge and simply vegetate, as did a majority of prisoners.”

Going through suffering is part of life, and you can either let life slip by and as Frankl says, vegetate, or you can front up to the challenge given to you and overcome it. Everyone has their own challenges and suffering, and there is no point complaining about who has it worse off, as it is only up to the individual to overcome it.

Frankl tells of a rise in deaths at the camps around Christmas and New Years’ time, not due to execution or illness, but due to many holding out for the war to finish at that time. Many had hoped that they would be rescued at that time, and when it never happened they lost all meaning to stay alive and resist death. Referencing Nietzsche, Frankl says:

“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how

So, whenever he had the chance to give a man a why for his suffering he often carried on living, the could range from loved ones to careers after the camp. So, everyone has a ‘unique opportunity’ to bear their suffering and give life meaning.

Now coming to the third phase of the psychology of a prisoner, after his liberation. Frankl describes the morning of the day they gained freedom, walking from the camp to a nearby town they could not fully grasp their new reality, they could only get small sparks of joy, for example when they saw the meadows full of flowers, or when a rooster crowed. Once returning to the camp in the evening, Frankl notes the conversation between some of the inmates.

One said secretly to the other, “Tell me, were you please today?”

the other replied, “Truthfully, on!”

They had lost the ability to feel pleased, He states that the feelings of displeasure were due to the prisoners having been “depersonalized”. They had dreamt of the day, yet now that it was here, they could not fully grasp it. He goes on to say that the body, unlike the mind, had fewer complexes. From eating and drinking non-stop, to talking for hours it was now unrestrained.

Frankl tells the story of him and a friend walking towards the nearby town and come upon a field of crops, he starts to head around the crops, however, his friend decided to drag him through it. After Frankl protesting at this action and not wanting to destroy the crop, his friend became annoyed and aggressive, shouting, “You don’t say! And hasn’t enough been taken from us? My wife and child have been gassed – not to mention everything else – and you would forbid me to tread on a few stalks of oats!” This ruthlessness coming from being free after being under the influence of such brutality, they thought they could justify their actions and behavior by their own terrible experiences. He states that prisoners with this attitude could slowly be brought back to the everyday truth that “no one has the right to do wrong, not even if wrong has been done to them.” Many prisoners carried with them such bitterness and their morals often disillusioned from their camp life.

When the man who had been told that life still had meaning for him inside the camp, now out, he found out that the why that he had no longer existed outside of camp. These men had a hard time coming to terms with overcoming their suffering, not in the hope that they would gain the happiness to combat the suffering but they were not prepared for unhappiness. Frankl says that he had a hard time helping those men out, as he had a hard time coming to terms with his own losses and suffering. But he found a new meaning, the meaning of helping those prisoners out. Talking about how difficult overcoming the suffering will be, Frankl says:

“but this must not be a discouragement to him; on the contrary, it should provide an added stimulus.”

This is something a think a lot of people forget, that in their suffering instead of seeing an immovable object, they should see a challenge to overcome. How they do that is up to the person, and once the challenge is overcome, one can look back and see how much they have endured and know that they can overcome more.

I will cover part two in a separate review, as I have gained so much from this book and I wish to share all of it with you reading this. I recommend that you pick up a copy of this book to read it for yourself as I have left out a lot and I will never be able to do it justice.

Please like, comment, share and follow.

See you on the mats.

Currently reading: Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl

MSFM

Man’s Search for Meaning

I finally decided to pick up Man’s Search for meaning. Having been recommended to read it from a friend a few months ago I bought it straight away and since then it has been sitting on my bookshelf. From the blurb on the back:

“Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for the spiritual survival. Based on his own experience and the stories of his patients, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward. At the heart of his theory, known as logotherapy, is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful. Man’s search for meaning has become one of the most influential books in America; it continues to inspire us all to find significance in the very act of living.”

I look forward to being able to bring you guys a book review once I have finished it. I have so far gained a lot from the little I have read. I am looking for books to read, and am open to suggestions, so please comment some titles of ones you think I should do.

Please like, comment, share and follow.

See you on the mats.