Apparently Viktor Frankl the psychiatrist and survivor of the concentration camps believed asking the meaning of life was presumptuous. He believed that life was constantly asking us questions in the problems it posed us and the meaning of life was in our answers (our actions).
To me that sucks. I feel like the problems life poses me suck big style and don’t really contain any opportunities for meaning. Again I feel as though a philosophy (this time logotherapy) is not tailor made for people with mental health issues. Maybe I am just whining but the current circumstances of my life don’t seem to offer fertile ground for meaning.
The book “The Obstacle is the Way” by modern day Stoic Ryan Holliday argues that we shouldn’t seek perfect conditions before starting ventures in our lives. The messy cockpit of our lives is the perfect place to start.
I suppose having made two suicide attempts I have tried to turn my back on life twice. At those points I didn’t want to create more meaning I just wanted to end it. Although maybe the meaning was I didn’t want to suffer and I saw only suffering ahead.
Besides my quest for meaning is itself meaningful even if Frankl would think it presumptuous. I am trying to make sense of this life, for example in this blog post and have the (probably overly ambitious) notion that my meanderings might help someone else. Also ironically it seems Frankl must have thought a lot about the meaning of life in the first place to come up with advice not to think about the meaning of life.
So the meaning of life is this blog (seems possibly dumb). Well I’m trying. Could try harder. Meaning is also in my partners smile, an art print on the wall, books piled in the hall.
Meaning is fleeting and life is fragile. We want to write things down so they last but as the Tao Te Ching says “All you hoard will be utterly lost”.
Where am I going with this. I don’t know. Maybe the search for meaning is not presumptuous it IS the meaning. Every time I buy a philosophy book every time I read about art, every time I expand my knowledge. That is after all what this blog is about, an anthropological exploration of the world. An attempt to gather and intercompare and analyse knowledge and arrive at truth.
The blogging world allows you to be anyone and to connect with anyone. It allows a space for these searches. At the moment to me this is part of the meaning. To write anthropological blog posts and share them against the void. Even though they are ill conceived, badly written and futile. It’s spitting against the void and that gives me some meaning.
So sorry to Viktor Frankl I am going to keep asking “what is the meaning of life”.