Man’s Search for Meaning: Reflection Essay
Victor Frankl’s assertion that man can search for meaning through any kind of life experience does seem to be valid and appropriate. For it is indeed true that meaning in life is something that gives a structure and purpose to personal existence. For it is but a fact that humans do happen to be the only organisms who can not only put their life in a perspective but could also eke out a purpose and validity out of it. Hence, if one comes across the experiences that Victor Frankl came across in the concentration camp than one is bound to ask that does one’s existence has any innate or factual meaning. Is the ordeal one is going through poised to serve any larger purpose? Such assertions about life having a meaning have been the crux of multiple religious, theological and spiritual traditions. The desire to have a meaning and purpose in this life is something that is very basic to human temperament and nature.
Yet in my opinion, what I construe from something exalted as the meaning in life is not something that is utterly philosophical and mystical. Meaning in life is something that lies at the very psychological core of human existence and it is something that indeed helps us to make a sense of our life. For instance, I may not be able to totally affiliate to the totally psychological and emotive sense of meaning that Victor Frankl talks about, but yes I can well understand the fact that to me meaning in life could be a task, a vocation, a work that imbues my life with a sense of purpose, a sense of structure and direction. To me, meaning in life means something practically and psychologically so cohesive that it binds the scattered aspects of my life together and it allows me to envision my life as something that has a structure, that is moving forward and that is gaining happiness and purpose in a linear and incremental manner. Thereby I do think that meaning is something that allows me to make a sense of otherwise unrelated and randomized aspects of my life and that makes me understand the fact that I am happy with life. The meaning of life is to be happy by being able to eke out a sense of direction and purpose in whatever one is doing in one’s life. It is something that is not merely theoretical or philosophical, but something palpable and semi-concrete that has a direct bearing on my emotional and physical life.
Yet, things may not stand to be the same as everybody. There may be people who are stuck in such kind of painful situation in their life that they may totally fail to find meaning in life or that they may not have the mental poise to look for meaning. For instance, I know of a person who is at the terminal stage of lung cancer and life for him is replete with pain and suffering, every minute, every day. I wonder whether it is necessary for him to have a sense of meaning in life or for that matter does he have the mental and emotional stability to look for a meaning in life? Sometimes people just give up. Sad, but yes, sometimes people just give up.