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The Meaning Of Suffering - Viktor Frankl

quoted from Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Once, an elderly general practitioner consulted me because of his severe depression. He could not overcome the loss of his wife who had died two years before and whom he had loved above all else. Now, how could I help him? What should I tell him?
Well, I refrained from telling him anything but instead confronted him with the question, "What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?"
"Oh," he said, "for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!" Whereupon I replied, "You see, Doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it was you who have spared her this suffering - to be sure, at the price that now you have to survive and mourn her." He said no word but shook my hand and calmly left my office. In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning,
such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
Of course, this was no therapy in the proper sense since, first, his despair was no disease; and second, I could not change his fate; I could not revive his wife. But in that moment I did succeed in changing his attitude toward his unalterable fate inasmuch as from that time on he could at least see a meaning in hus suffering. It is one of the basic tenets of logotherapy that man's main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure,
that his suffering has a meaning.


Fluffypanda Fluffypanda 18-21, M 2 Responses Jul 28, 2011

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Wonderful thought, FurBall! <br />
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Sometimes it's the very simple which is profound.<br />
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Suffering and despair alleviate or are mitigated when you understand the suffering and despair because then it has meaning.<br />
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Extra belly-rub and long nail scratching from Katie today!<br />
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But.... wait. Let's ponder this together. <br />
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Why do human mourn loss, death, finality, endings deemed sad? Of all the outcomes we can decide and affect, death isn't one of them and it happens to us all. Why is it painful? Why is it a month after my doggie's death I still tear up? Are we mourning ourselves and our own eventual fate?<br />
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The worms, Panda, the worms. They get us all.

Hey Katie, not my thoughts but those from Viktor Frankl. But yea, you said it yourself: the worms.

Why fear something that's a natural part of life?

I love this. Thanks for sharing.