Juce’s Book review: “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
At the risk of sounding overly enthusiastic, I’ve to got say this book was totally great. I heard about this from a video blog by Teal Scott, who i follow on youtube. It was just a passing mention of the title. But the title is certainly an attention grabber. Man’s search for meaning is the most sought after idea in all of history. Especially with the advances and discoveries in science that indicatively place man as a fluke in a immense construct of random lucky occurrences. Being the addict of theology that i am, i had to look this book up. Luckily i found its entirety as an audiobook on youtube and knocked it out in about two days at work. Also the reader (whose name i forgot) made it a pleasure to listen to. Ill put the link at the end of the this review. So i guess the thing that made this book of psychology interesting was that Dr. Frankl started the book with a story. His story of his survival in the Nazi concentration camps during world war II. But this depiction was a bit different than any of the previous stories of this horrific time i had heard. I found his depiction his time in the camp very objective and somehow cheerful. Don’t get me wrong there were some sad parts and a time or two i got the angry gut feeling that makes me cringe in disgust. Looking back on the story the parts that stand out to me are the parts where he would speak of his state of being and his internal reactions to the things around him. His observations. He had developed a passivity of the differences between life and death and while he didn’t want to die, if it came down to it you know he would’ve just taken it. I think this is very much due to Dr. Frankl’s level of intelligence in the camp, which on more than one occasion served him in his survival. At one point he spoke of his surprise at all of the prisoners ability to stay alive and functional after their identities and things that they thought they could not live without, had been stripped from them. Even their names. This reminded me of some of the Zen Buddhist ideas and Ekhart Tolle’s writings about the identity of man and who we are and who we are not. What happens when you strip a man of all that he has thought himself to be. So i wont tell the whole story, but this was a very spiritual type of understanding. So from this ordeal and his observations of the other prisoners and himself, he applied some if the principles of logotherapy and from time to time would compare those principles to the people living in the camps. He found that people who could determine a purpose for living, no matter what it was, were able to push harder and live longer in the camp that only valued the prisoners as slaves based on their physical ability to work hard labor. Also he spoke of having a sense of humor made the going easier and how it allowed the prisoner to step back from the serious role of life and to look objectively not take everything so desperately serious. The was very much like some of the idea of Zen where sometimes the irony is the lesson in a parable. He gave an example of this in the book for himself. So not to spoil it, i wont say what he identified as his purpose, but it got him through a point when he was sick and not able to work as hard, giving him that lifeline to push through the sickness and not just let the weakness overtake him. The holocaust experience was an eye-opener and provided the perfect premise and segway to the second part of the book, where here explained Logotherapy as a psychological tool to help modern man (at that time) with various neuroses. I remember a few time that Dr.Frankl quoted Fred Nietzsche’s line ” He who has a why can endure any how.” This seemed to be a large part of the structure of Logotherapy. In other words , if a man has the goal his heart is set on, he will overcome any massive or menial obstacle in his way as long as that goal remains worthy of it in his mind. Dr.Frankl gave a number of cases of patients who had come to him with a lack of purpose in their lives, and thus developed neuroses of suicidal thought or Obsessive compulsive disorders, grief over passed-on loved ones and even simple depression. Many of these patients had come to Dr.Frankl for his Logotheraputic methods because they had tried psycho-analysis already. Dr.Frankl had more than a few unflattering things to say about psycho-analysis.He was mostly implying that Freud’s psychoanalytic method was forcing a diagnosis on a patient and totally missing the mark because the basic differences in history/life between the Dr. and patient, leaving the patient with only the “Dr. Know’s best” conclusion. (I recently finished Carl Jung’s ‘The red book’, and Jung also did not have a favorable opinion of Freud’s psychoanalytic method, though it was more concerning dream meanings in that book.) From what i recall in my intro to psychology classes in college, I’d tend to agree. Instead, in each of these cases Dr.Frankl would ask questions almost in an socratic style inquiry and lead the person to discovering the purpose of their neurotic affliction and even more determining a Purpose and goal to help overcome it. According to him this helped many of his patients. One of my favoirte parts of this book was Dr. Frankl’s discussion of Hyper-intention adn Hyper-reflection as a cause of many of the anxieties we have in our daily lives. Ill simplify my favorite example to illustrate what i mean. There was a man who came to Dr.Frankl becaue he had anxiety over profusely sweating in social situations. Dr.Frankl told him to, ‘instead of trying so hard not to sweat profusely in the setting, instead tell yourself that you will do your best to sweat as much as possible! More than anyone has ever seen’. By trying that the man was able to cure this anxiety with a sense of humor about something that was a source of anxiety. Hyper-intention is often trying to not do something, and by not trying to do it you do it even more precisely. Like, if somebody says , don’t think about a blue butterfly, your mind automatically goes to it and you think about it that much more clearly despite yourself. To wrap this up, “Man’s Search for Meaning” is an extremely profound book and I’ve learned much from it about setting intentions and goals for myself. If there was every a book that needed to be added to the reading list in high school’s this is it. Understanding the human potential for setting intention beyond ourselves is one of the greatest powers we possess.
“Oh ….shit….” I gasp though tensed muscles and chattering teeth. My eyes, huge in astonished fear, cut from left of my keyboard to the right, and back again. Again, they cut to my left to the to the 55mm orb of compressed citrine crystal, which only seconds ago was a black Sonix ink pen, and back to the right which to the same black pen that was mere second ago on my left. All of that in a split second of brilliant green light. “Oh shit…” I repeat, a bit more confidently this time. “…I’m trippin’. That didn’t just happen. Cuz if it did, i’m losing my mind for sure.” Abruptly i stand up and backed away from my desk, stumbling backwards over my chair and rolling head over heels down the hallway. It somehow suddenly occurred to me that If that flash of blinding green light happens again, i don’t want to be the next thing to get switched somewhere else, by any means. Standing in ready (to get hell out) position about five feet away from my desk , I stare for what feels like an hour to see if anything happens further. Nothing did. Not that I can tell anyway. I take courage after a few more moments and inch my way back toward these two transposed items sitting on my desk. Im doubting what i saw more and more. With each step i take, the more hilarious and utterly nonsensical my fearful notions felt before. There was no way what i saw happen, actually happened. And even if it did, why? WHY of all the things in the world that could be, would two basically meaningless desk items switch places. A black ink pen and what is essentially a paper weight switching sides of a ran down keyboard in a dirty town house basement, in a city in the middle of no where in a state of no importance on the east coast, is in no respect a meaningful event because it didn’t happen. It couldn’t happen. By the time i get to standing in front of my desk, my confidence is back and my only concern is if i should keep this obvious hallucination to myself or tell someone. I determine its not worth it as i must have nodded off while working on the computer and the whole thing was a intermittent dream of some kind. Sort of like the dreams you have when u nod off in class and wake up with a jump making the people behind you snicker. I reach for the pen, and as my finger pick it up from the table i have no doubts of the absurdity of my reaction. I flop down onto my chair which i replaced on my re-composure back to the desk. “I’m such and idiot…” I say to myself out loud as i reach for the inert citirne orb. “To think that something so….” *BIZZZACT!!* Suddenly centered at the chair by the computer desk a magnificently bright green flash of light filled the room and disappeared leaving it completely uninhabited
Writing challenge Day 6 12 rhyming lines of getting progressively drunk.
The night was young and and the scene was set, shots of vodka , the best that (college) money could get! All concerns of mixing dark liquor and light, all went out the window just after midnight. The music was thumping and the girls were humping, on the dance floor we were stumbling grinding and bumping. Against my better judgement, if that’s what you want to call it, I downed more swigs and took shots, that would shame an alcoholic. Dancing was out of the question at this point in time, But flailing arms and legs around like a madman did me just fine. Finally i’m exhausted, and nausea is growing near. I look, and blink once… …and wake up in the dormitory bathroom.” How the hell did I get here!?!?”
Write a 15-step list on how to be: An American Capoeirista
Step 1- Join a local capoeira group Step 2- Get Tekken and play only as Eddie Gordo…from NOW ON! Step 3- Go to youtube and watch some capoeira videos. Step 4- Get a time machine and go back to 1995 and watch “Only the strong”. That movie is most effective in the correct era Step 5- Wikipedia capoiera and read the history of capoiera. Step 6- Learn to ginga from your capoeira teacher. Step 7- Learn to esquiva from your capoiera teacher Step 8- Play in a roda as regularly as possible. Step 9- Get massive calluses on your feet. Step 10- Watch insane capoiera rodas on youtube while all tradional history of capoiera fades from your memory Step 11- Injure yourself (In roda or during practice or ouside of capoeira entirely; your choice) Step 12- Learn to play the berimbau as you heal ( and, get calluses on your pinky finger) Step 13- Travel and play in rodas everywhere you go Step 14- Love capoeira Step 15- Love life and keep growing. 🙂
30 Day creative writing challenge Day 1 Shuffle mp3 player and write 250 words about the first line and last line of the next song that comes up. Song: The sore feet song by Ally Kerr (-_-) (Mushi-shi opening theme song for the anime series; hey it was a great song and fit perfectly with the theme of the show.) First line ” i’ll walk 10 thousand miles, 10 thousand miles to see you.” Last line “I want to go home but my love gets me though.”
“Was this the end? Finally have i made it to the end?” he whispered to himself with a hoarse dry voice through cracked lips. Standing atop a crested ridge of hills he surveyed the stretch of dried out land before him with tired brown eyes sunken into their sockets. He thoughtlessly scratched his face though the prickly beard that had overgrown over his face like weeds in an unattended garden, his eyes never leaving what he hoped with his heart was a finally a destination. And end to his blurred lapses of time filled with the trudging of journey after journey. And end to the following a trail that was growing colder by the day. And how long had he been following this trail? Weeks? Months? He dreaded to think it could be any longer than that, yet in the back of his mind the witch-like whisper of years could not be ignored. He forced the thought along with the raising despair back deep within his subconscious to be battled out in dreams (or nightmares) at another time. His purpose was clear. He was here for her. He proceeded down the slope of earth toward the apparently obsidian black castle he’d glimpsed from atop the ridge of hills. Cutting his own path with a staff made of oak-wood he’d found abandoned near the beginning of his journey, he lumbered his way toward the castle. While there were miles of cracked dry earth and dead crippled devils-grass between him and the gates, he felt more and more invigorated with every step. Every step felt easier than the one before, almost as if he was being pulled to the Obsidian castle. The pull felt so real and dense he briefly wondered if this was magic? If so he wouldn’t have been to surprised being that he’d encounter various things beyond magic in his opinion over the course of this quest. In facet he’d used the staff he carried to fight off a pack of over twenty hungry wolves and he’d used it to fend of the blows of a deranged knight and his sword of purest shadows. Being that he grew up in a strictly peaceful household and pursued a career in computer programming with no real fighting experience, he knew that him being alive at all had to be due to magic of some sort. Soon he found himself running at full speed toward the Obsidian castle. His worn through boots kicked up previously settled dust and his backpack thudded heavily against his back with each stride, but he kept the pace and somehow was moving faster than he had ever run before. And then with less than a mile to go he finally saw her. She stood behind the gates of the Obsidian castle on the highest balcony of the highest tower. And as he saw her, he saw her see him and he could feel more than see the recognition of what was happening cross her face. And he ran harder and somehow faster and he no longer felt the earth under his boots. His wild frantic eyes never left her form for even a moment and he continued to run as he was lifted from the ground and was drawn towards his objective. This was it. This was the end finally. He laughed, and choked though labored breaths. Closer and closer, over the gate and up the height of the highest tower of the obsidian castle ran. He could see her smiling, and tears streaming down her cheeks from her watery puffy red eyes. Finally he jumped his arms outstretched, both staring into each others tear streaked eyes, smiling and weeping. He called her name, and he heard her call his and thus he knew this was no dream. “…no dream…no dream…no dream….” echoed in his head. Followed by the question. “Who ever said this could ever never not be a dream?” And with that, he awoke.
Hello WordPress community and all you other meandering readers who have happened to stumble across this new blog. Welcome to new, first and only blog! ….okay then…Well i guess to get things started i suppose i should share why I’ve decided to start a blog…seem easy enough. The first reason, i suppose, is that i like the idea of blogging. The internet provides us with a means of putting our opinions out there, for better or for worse, for the world to see. Granted, average people have always had, and will always have a multitude of opinions. As my dad says, “Opinions are like elbows, everyone has a couple.” And while this is the case the idea of expressing opinions in an articulate manner in public is a very empowering thing, especially for the individual. Despite my best efforts not to be, I’ve always been a fairly opinionated person. I tend to blame this on my Libra sign of justice. Even to say i rarely share my opinion would be a lie because i’m constantly giving quasi-objective advice to friends on their relationships. Hey, if they ask I tell’em what i think. And sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn’t. But I do rarely ever share my opinions on some of the more obscure topics i think about…idk, for example, say the benefits of Antioxidants in the average persons diet. Not that i have a serious opinion on that at the moment, but I do like the idea that this is a concern for many people and that i can read up on it and share my opinion, if it ever occurs to me to do so, for friends and others to read and care about or not. Hmm..in a way i guess i just defined blogging. A blog is essentially a place where a person can articulate his or her opinions, thoughts, desires etc. I’m sure there are a 100 holes in that definition, but whatever i like it. The second reason is as simple as i like writing. More specific I like language and i find it as very possibly the most fantastic thing humans have ever created. The complexity of any language in any part of the world is far beyond that of any other form of communication for the common man. The only thing better would be telepathy. Telepathy is an interest i’ll discuss at some point in a blog someday. Back to topic, I like language and writing because i love stories. Stories define the true power of humanity. The ability to create limitlessness though imagination. I’ve always been a kind of pseudo-artist and loved to draw as a kid and growing up. But i was never able to make art in that way real artists can make art. Like, i can create a likeness but it doesn’t evoke feelings and draw attention like that of a true artist who’s art is the story. Counter to that, my pictures were pieces of a story that could not covey the depth of it. I’m hoping that makes sense. Anyway, this blog should hopefully help me develop my writing ability to be able to create the story i want to create. Mainly though discipline and repetition. I keep the idea that most human mental functions are like that of muscles. If you keep doing it you get better at it, stronger at it and it becomes second nature. With good writing habits I should be able to sit down and dish out something. Whether it be interesting or lame. Something is better that nothing when it comes to personal development. The third reason is this venue may be similar to a diary or a journal for me. Without a doubt some people use their blogs for just that reason. I mentioned to a friend last night about how lucky as humanity were able to find the journals and diaries of some of the most intelligent people ever to live. Einstein, Gandhi, Roosevelt. (I’ll admit I’ve never read any of these, but I have read Gandhi’s autobiography and found it enlightening but with many parts smoothed over.) To see the world though their eyes, hear though their ears (so to speak) and feel it though their hearts. Even an autobiography cannot convey those feelings as raw as they are when written by that person at the end of the day and when they are still stewing in those feelings of love, anger, regret and even exhaustion. The idea that there are many more great minds who’s personal feelings will never be known is sad to me. And more than that, what defines a great mind? Certainly not that a person becomes famous by one means or another. I think everyone has a great mind and should know their thoughts and be able to put them down on some type of venue. Whether on paper or computer keyboard. Collecting thoughts is akin to mining for gold. You dig though immense stone and dirt of our minds and from time to time you find a nugget. But if never recorded to be addressed at another time when it may become really useful, it may as well be dropped to the floor and buried by more dirt, stone and rubble. So that’s my blog entry for today. No.1. I feel good about writing this much. I hope it wasn’t too long and boring. OH RIGHT!!! I forgot. So for the next 30 days or so I’m working on a 30-day writing challenge. It should be fitting for getting this blog started. So ill update with the first challenge really soon. I was supposed to start the 30 days on November 1st, but i’m hella late, it now being the third and me just now writing my first blog entry. This is apart of that whole discipline thing i spoke about earlier. I guess that’s it for now. Comments and constructive criticisms are definitely welcome. Peace, Juce