The Friday Story: In search for a meaning

January 20, 2006

Here is your Friday story,

The Search For Meaning

Imagine what it must be like to be shipped like cargo along with your whole family to a place, the only purpose of which is to kill people. Imagine struggling to stay alive physically and spiritually in that setting, not knowing what has happened to the rest of your family, but believing that they were exterminated in gas chambers or ovens.

This was the common experience of people referred to as holocaust survivors. One survivor was Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist who emerged from the experience with extraordinary insights valuable to all of us. In Man’s Search for Meaning he says, “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked throughout the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.

They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” “Every prisoner had a moral choice to make,” he says, “to surrender one’s inner self to the Nazis, or to find the meaning in one’s life that would give one the strength to go on.”

The lessons we can learn are that no matter how bad our troubles are, we can survive them if we choose to survive. And the best way to survive – in fact, the best way to thrive – is to find meaning in every moment of existence, every memory and every possibility for our future. Remember, character counts! Michael Josephson


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