July 11, 2008

The will to do nothing

I started reading Man's search for meaning by Victor Frankl yesterday* but am getting a bit jaded by all this psycho-babble. Ok..its not babble and in fact, of all the different theories of psychology (will to power (Neitzche & Adler), the will to live (Schopenhauer), the will to pleasure (Freud), etc.), it is Frankl's logotherapy ideas - the will to find meaning in life - that is the most appealing to me; especially due to the ideas around existential frustration and angst, which is a topic I have found to be of particular interest since the 1990s when I first read Kundera's books, which led me to read about some of the original ideas of existentialism (Heidegger, Sartre, etc.).

But this morning, I'm in no mood for any of this. The quest for the meaning of life is pointless. What a pointless exercise to even spend time blogging about this! (But then my entire blogging is pointless, no?)

* For what its worth though, here are some quotes from the book that i found thru wikipedia:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him - mentally and spiritually.

We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing a something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.

It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. 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.
Suffering is not always a pathological phenomenon; rather than being a symptom of neurosis, suffering may well be a human achievement, especially if the suffering grows out of existential frustration. … Existential frustration is in itself neither pathological nor pathogenic. A man’s concern, even his despair, over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress but by no means a mental disease.
More sample quotes from Man's Search for Meaning.

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