What is To Give Light…

“What is to give light must endure burning” – Viktor Frankl.

I saw this quote for the first time yesterday.  I Googled Viktor Frankl and found that he built an entire third pillar of psychotherapy, Logotherapy, after Freud’s psychoanalysis and Adler’s individual pschology.

Logotherapy is a form of Existential Analysis which is classified right up there with two you’ve heard of:

  • Freud’s “Will to pleasure”
  • Nietzchian “Will to power”
  • Frankl’s “Will to meaning”

While I don’t agree with Existential Analysis (“nothing is out there in the world exept us humans”), Frankl’s conclusions seem to be the closest to my beliefs.  Perhaps because he searches for meaning, and I believe this is a fundamental human tendency, albeit for reasons Frankl does not ascede to. It seems his professional writings grew out of losing all his family, save a sister, in the holocaust, and he spent several years in German concentration camps. That pain, filtered through his mind, convinced him that there is and should be meaning in all things both pleasant and unpleasant.

Logotherapy’s seven principles seem to resonate with anybody who has read through the Pauline literature of the New Testament:

  • Exercise the freedom to choose your attitude (a freedom that can never be taken away)
  • Realize your will to meaning
  • Detect the meaning of life’s moments
  • Don’t work against yourself
  • Look at yourself from a distance
  • Shift your focus of attention
  • Extend beyond yourself

Perhaps when I have a moment, I’ll write entries on each of these seven principles and show how they’re subsumed inside the New Testament teachings of Jesus Christ.

Update: Looks like it’s already been done in a book by Timothy Lent, titled “Christian Themes in Logotherapy“. Reading an internet excerpt drew the analogy even tighter when the three Frankl’s three methods of finding meaning were listed.  Compare these to three broad category of “God-followers” you can find in the world.  He proposes meaning comes from:

  1. A deed we do, or work we create. This reminds me a lot of Christians who tend toward works righteousness. You did good.  God likes you.  Go to heaven.  Many other religions have this flavor, too.
  2. An experience we have such as love. This reminds me of Christians who tend toward Spirit-led free forms of knowing God, easily deviating from Biblical revelation.
  3. A change in attitude when confronted with unchangeable fate.  Although Frankl’s idea is built on a bad unchangeable fate, this seems very close to a humble human willing to change according to the commands and blessings of a sovereign, loving, unchangeable God.

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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