By Lou DiVirgilio
The idea that anyone could know, in a comprehensive manner, the meaning of life, seems to most people an absurd notion. Life qua life, is such an enormous, interwoven, complicated idea that it appears to defy comprehension, and further there is a general feeling today among Western Culture that a person searching for life’s meaning is wasting scarce energy, scarce time, and being counter productive. “Monty Python,” a group of English funny men, created a satirical spoof movie called, The Meaning of Life. Of course their title was meant to be sarcastic and to taunt the viewer with the high concept of “the meaning of life,” then they immediately began to mock it in the most irreverent of ways. After many comedic skits, that had little to do with the meaning of life, the movie ended with one of the Monty Python crew sitting in a chair saying , “Oh! You really expected to see evidence of the meaning of life?” Then he reaches over to a small table standing next to him, picks up the book setting there entitle, “The Meaning Of Life,” opens it and begins to read in a flippant manner, “treat every one as you would like to be treated, turn the other cheek, love your neighbor as yourself, blah, blah, blah,” then throws the book to the side on the floor as the movie ends.
Viktor E. Frankl, a Viennese psychiatrist, wrote a book entitled, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” His presentation was taken seriously by millions of readers, owning to the facts that he was an immanent psychiatrist, and a survivor of Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Dachau. On page 154 of his book Frankl encapsulated his perception of the meaning of life, …”Man is not fully condition and determined, but rather determines himself whether he gives into conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determined. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment”… Thus the meaning of life for Frankl, expresses itself from man’s innate capacity for self-determination. What is not made clear from Frankl’s above perception or perhaps it was implied, is where the capacity for self-determination originates? The answer is, it originates from our self-awareness.
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