Meaning of Life

From Weekly I/O#38

We should stop asking about the meaning of life and think of ourselves as those being questioned. We should take the responsibility to answer with action.

Book: Man's Search for Meaning

What's the meaning of life? Viktor Frankl argued that we should stop asking this and think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life daily and hourly. It didn't matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected us.

Furthermore, the meaning of life differs from person to person, from moment to moment. It's impossible to define it for everyone. To ask the meaning of life generally is like asking a chess champion: "Tell me, Master, what is the best move in the world?"

Each person is questioned by life, and they can only respond by being responsible. Thus, Viktor Frankl sees responsibleness as the very essence of human existence in his psychotherapeutic method logotherapy.

Responsibleness is embedded in the categorical imperative of logotherapy: "Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!" This principle invites us to imagine that the present is past and, the past may yet be changed and amended.

Related to this aspect of the meaning of life, Carl Jung said slightly differently: "The meaning of my existence is that life has addressed a question to me. Or, conversely, I myself am a question which is addressed to the world, and I must communicate my answer, for otherwise I am dependent upon the world's answer."

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