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What is Meant by Meaning - Audio
What is Meant by Meaning
Note (2022-12-04) These are rough transcript draft. Will be corrected later.
The sound seminar you are about to hear was recorded by Victor e Frankel, professor of psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Vienna and head of the Department of Neurology at the Clinic Hospital in Vienna. He is presently the president of the Austrian Medical Society of Psychotherapy. Dr. Frankel is well known internationally as the originator of the School of Psychotherapy known as logotherapy or existential analysis. His most recent publication is Psychotherapy and Existentialism Selected Papers on Logotherapy. The subject of this sound seminar is What Is Meant By Meaning Here is Dr. Frankel.
It is my contention that self-transcendence is the the essence of human existence. In plain words, being human always means to be directed to something other than oneself. In other words, ma'am is characterized by his reaching out for meaning and purpose in life, and restless is his heart to couch it in Augustinian terms and where he has found and fulfilled meaning and purpose in life. This statement epitomizes much of the fury and therapy of neurosis, at least insofar as that type which I've trumped no is concerned <affirmative>, however, man's basic meaning orientation, his original and natural concern with meaning and values is endangered and frightened by that pervasive reductionism, which is prevalent in Westerns civilization. This reductionism is likely to undermine and erode idealism and enthusiasm, particularly in young people, <inaudible> along the lines of reductionism. The human being is portrayed as nothing but say a computer, but humans are not objects says William Arwin Thompson that exist as chairs or tables. They live and if they find that their lives are reduced to the near existence of chairs and tables, they commit suicide. Reductionism itself may be reduced by being trace to relativism and subjectivism. Let us then ask ourselves whether or not meanings and values are as relative and subjective as some believe them to be
To anticipate our answer to this question. Meanings and values are both relative and subjective, however they are so in a different sense from that to which relativism and subjectivism conceive of them in which sense then is meaning. Relative meaning is relative in as much as it is related to a specific person who is entanged. In a specific situation, one could say that meaning differs in two respects. First from man to man and second, from day to day, indeed from hour to hour. It's true that if I lead a speech, the situation unites me and my audience, but the meaning of the situation is still different. Our tasks are different. You have to listen. I have to talk to be sure. I, for one would prefer to speak of uniqueness rather than relativity.
Uniqueness, however, holds not only for a situation but also for life is a whole since life after all is a chain of unique situations. This man is unique in terms of both existence and essence. He's unique in that in the final analysis he cannot be replaced and his life is unique in that no one can repeat it. There is therefore no such thing as a universal meaning of life that only the unique meaning of individual situations. However, we must not forget that among these situations there are also situations which have something in common and consequently, there are also meanings which are shared by human beings throughout society and even more throughout history rather than being related to unique situations. These meanings refer to the human condition and these meanings are what is understood by values so that one may define values as those meaning universals, which crystallize in the typical situations a society or humanity has to face.
By values or meaning universal man's search for meaning is alleviated. It is much as at least in typical situations, he is spared making decisions, but s he is also to pay for this relief and benefit from contrast to the unique meanings pertaining to unique situations. It may well be that two values collide with one another and as is well in their own value, collisions are mirrored in these humans psyche in the form of value conflict, and as such, play an important part in the formation of no orogenic neurosis. Let us imagine that the unique meanings referring to unique situations are points where the values or meaning universal are shockers. It is understandable that two values may overlap with one another, whereas this cannot happen to unique meanings, but we must ask ourselves whether two values can really collide with one another. In other words, whether their analogy with two dimensional circles is appropriate, would it not be more adequate to compare values with three dimensional spheres?
She is two three-dimensional spheres to project it out of the three-dimensional space down into the two dimensional plane may well yield two, two dimensional circus overlapping one another, although these fears themselves do not even touch on one another. Likewise, the impression that two values collide with one another is due to the fact that a whole dimension is D regarded and this dimension is the hierarchy order of values. According to Max Shaler, valuing implicitly means referring one value to another. This the rank of a value is experience together with the value itself. The experience of one value includes the experience that it ranks higher than another. There is no place for a value conflict.
However, this is not to say that the experience of the hierarchy order of values dispenses man from decision making man is pushed by dives, but he is pulled by values. He is free to accept or reject a value he's offered by situation. It's up to him to take a stand as to whether or not he wishes to realize a value. This is two of the hierarchical order of values as it is transmitted and channeled by moral et traditions and standards, they still have to stand a test. This sequence reflects the three principle ways in which man can find meaning in life fast by what he gives to the world in terms of his creation. Second by what he takes from the world in terms of encounters and experiences, and third, by this term he takes when faced with a fate which he cannot change. This is why life never ceases to hold meaning. Since even a person who is deprived of both creative and experiential values is still challenged by an opportunity for fulfillment that is by the meaning inherent in an upright way of suffering. By way of illustration, I would like to quote by Earl Aga Oman who once received a call from a person dying of an incurable disease. How can I meet the thought and reality of death? She asked and the continues to report.
We spoke on numerous occasions and as you I buy, I introduced many of the concepts of immortality found in our faith as an afterthought. I also mentioned the attitudinal value concept. Much of the theologically discussion had made little impression upon her, but attitudinal values invited her curiosity, especially when she learned that the founder of this concept was a psychiatrist who was incarcerated in a concentration camp. This man and his teaching captured her imagination for he knew more than just the theoretical application of suffering. She resolved then and there. If she could not avoid the inescapable suffering, she would determine the manner and mode in which she would meet the illness. She became a tower of strength to those around her whose hearts were lacerated with pain. At first it was a bravado, but with the passage of time, the act became invested with purpose. She confided to me perhaps my singing act of immortality might be in the way I face this adversity even though my pain at times is unbearable, I have achieved an inner peace and contentment that I had never known before.
She died in dignity and is remembered in our community for her endurable courage. I do not wish in this context to elaborate on the relationship between log of therapy and theology. Suffice it to say that in principle the attitude you do not value concept is terrible, applicable. Irrespective of whether or not a religious philosophy of life is espoused by now, we have dealt with the question in which sense means are relative. Now we have to proceed to the question of whether or not they are subjective. Is it not true that meanings are matter of interpretation and doesn't an interpretation always imply a decision? Are there are not situations which allow for a variety of interpretations among which one has to make a choice?
Let me illustrate this by a story I once read in a ese newspaper. Some years ago, the owner of a tobacco shop was assaulted by a hoodlum. She cried out for France. Her husband, the gangster, thought that France was behind the curtain in which divided the room and fled. Actually this woman had not called for her husband. She could not even do so for the simpler reason that he had died some weeks earlier in her emergency and agony, his widow had sent a prayer to heaven and begged France to intervene with God for the sake of rescuing her at the last moment.
Now, it is entirely up to each of us how to interpret this sequence of facts when might see there in an understandable misunderstanding of the part of the hoodlum or else as she assume that a prayer has been accepted by heaven. Why should not heaven hide a supernatural occurrence behind such a natural sequence of facts? Obviously man is giving meanings to things which in themselves are neutral and in the face of this neutrality reality is like a screen upon which man projects his own wishful thinking. As is the case with roak plots. Meanings then would be a means of self-expression and therefore something intrinsically subjective.
Actually, however, the only thing which is subjective is the prospective through which we approach the world, but this subjectivity of prospective does not in the least detract from the objectivity of the world itself. Human cognition is not of kaleidoscopic nature. If I look into a kaleidoscope, I do not see anything except that which is inside of the kaleidoscope itself. Can't tell wise. If I look through a telescope, I see something which is outside of the telescope itself and if I look at the world, I also see more than say the prospective, what is seen through the perspective. However subjective the perspective may be is the objective world in fact seen through is the literal translation of the Latin word perspective.
The term objective can be substituted by another one, which is used by Rudolph Alice, namely transsubjective. This doesn't make a difference nor does it make a difference whether we speak of things or meanings. Both are trans subjective for, for meanings are found rather than given. If give it all, they are not given an arbitral way, but rather in the way in which answers are given. That is to say that there is one answer only to each question. The right one, there is one solution only to each problem, the right one, and there is one meaning only to each situation, and this is its two meaning. Let me invoke what once happened on one of my lecture tours to United States before a question period was started, my audience had been requested to print the questions in block at and after they done a theology and passed the questions to me, but wished me to skip one for as he said it was she in our sense, someone wishes to know, he said, how you define 600 in your theory of existence, but I read the question a different way.
How do you define God in your theory of existence? Parented in black letters God and 600 were hard to differentiate. Indeed well was did an unintentional projective test after all the theology read 600 and the neurologist read God later on. I also used it intentionally by making the facsimile into a slide and showing it to my American students at the University of Vienna, and believe it or not, nine students read 600. Another nine students read God and four students undecidedly vacillated between both modes of interpretation. Now, what I wish to demonstrate is the fact that only one way to read the question, what the right one, only one way to read the question, what the way in which it had been asked and only one way to read the question, what the way in which it was meant by him who had asked it. Thus, we have arrived at a definition of what meaning is. Meaning is what is meant, be it by a person who asks me a question or by a situation, which too implies e question and cause for an answer. However it may be, I cannot say may answer right or wrong as the British say, my country right or wrong, I must do my best in meaning of the question which I'm asked.
What is Self-Transendence
Psychotherapy and existentialism selected papers on Logo Therapy.
The subject of this sound seminar is Self Transcendence. The Motivational Theory of Logo Therapy. Here is Dr. Frankel.
There are two specifically human phenomena by which human existence is characterized. The first is constituted by man's capacity for self detachment. Another capacity of man is that for self-transcendence. In fact, it is a constitutive characteristic of being human that it always points and is directed to something other than itself. It is therefore a severe engrave misinterpretation of man to deal with him as if he wear a closed system. Actually being human profoundly means to be open to the world. The world that is, which is replete. Ma flow to encounter has aired similar to fulfill and in a more recent stuff, this self transcending quality of human existence is ignored and neglected by those motivational theories which are based on the homeostasis principle. According to the theories, man is basically concerned with maintaining or restoring and inner equilibrium and to this end with reducing tension in the final analysis. This is also assumed to be the goal of the gratification of drives and the satisfaction of needs. As Char Boer has rightly pointed out from Freud's earliest formulations of the pleasure principle to the latest present version of the discharge of tension and homeostasis principle, the end changing end goal of all activity. Also life was conceived of as the reestablishment of the individual equilibrium.
The pleasure principles we see serves the purpose of the homeostasis principles but also in turn, the purpose of the pleasure principle is served by something and that is the reality principle. According to F's statement, the goal of reality principle is to secure pleasure, albeit delayed all port objected to the homeostasis theory and said that it falls short of representing the nature of appropriate striving, whose characteristic feature is its resistance to equilibrium. Tension is maintained rather than reduced. Met flow as well as child ruler has air similar objections and in a war recent study Buer stated that according to Freud Soya Sta principle, the ultimate goal was to obtain that kind of full gratification which would restore the individual's equal Librium in bringing all his desires to West. From this point of view, all cultural creations of humanity become actually byproduct of the drive for personal satisfaction that even with a view to future formulations of the psychoanalytic theory, Charles Buer is doubtful because as she says, quote, the psychoanalytic theory can in spite of all attempts to renew it, never get away from its basic hypothesis that the primary end goal of all striving is home.
Aesthetic satisfaction, creating values and accomplishing things are secondary goals due to the overcoming of the E by the ego and superego, but again ultimately serving satisfaction.
In contrast, Boer conceives of man as living with intentionality, which means as living with purpose. The purpose is to give meaning to life. The individual wants to create values if more the human being has a primary or native orientation in the direction of creating a values. Now with specific reference to the pleasure principle, my own criticism goes even further for it is my contention that in the final analysis the pleasure principle is self-defeating. The more one aims at pleasure, the more his aim is missed. In other words, the very profu of happiness is what thoughts it and this self-defeating quality of pleasure seeking account for many sexual neurosis, both orgasm and potency are impaired by being made the target of intention. This occurs all the more if as is frequently the case, excessive intention is associated with excessive attention. Hyper intention and hyper reflection as I'm used to calling them, are likely to create neurotic patterns of behavior.
The more one intends to gain pleasure, the less he will obtain it. This is due to the fact that pleasure rather than being a goal itself is and must remain a side effect or a byproduct of attaining a goal. Cleaning a goal as one could say as well, is the reason why I am happy and if I have a reason to be happy, I need not care for pleasure and happiness. I need not pursue them. They enue automatically and spontaneously as it were and this is why it is not necessary to pursue happiness, but why is it not even possible to pursue it? Because to the extent to which one makes happiness, the objective of his motivation and the the object of his attention, he loses sight of the reason for happiness and consequently happiness itself must fade away.
Now the accent which Freudian psychology places upon the pleasure principles is paralleled by the emphasis which Alerian psychology places upon the status drive. However, this driving also proves to be self defeating. In Sohi, a person who displays and exhibits his status drive will sooner or later be dismissed as a a status seeker in the final analysis, the status drive or the will to on one hand and the pleasure principle or as what might term it, the will to pleasure on the other hand are me derivative of man's primary concern and that is his will to meaning as I call this basic striving of man to find and fulfill meaning and purpose. It turns out that pleasure rather than being an end of man's striving, actually the effect of me fulfillment and power and rather than being an end in itself actually is the means to an end.
As much as if man is to live out an exert his will to meaning certain amount of power, say economic or financial power by and large will be an indispensable prerequisite with it. Now only it one's original concern with meaningful fulfillment is frustrated is one, either content with power or intent on pleasure. The assumption of a will meaning is quite compatible with Charlotte Go's four basic tendencies. So also according to her theory, fulfillment is the final goal and the four basic tendencies secure and serve the goal of fulfillment. However, I would like to clarify that what is meant by fulfillment is the fulfillment of meaning rather than fulfillment of the self or self-actualization. Self-actualization is not man's ultimate destination, not even his primary intention. Self-actualization is made and ending itself contradicts the self transcendent quality of human existence. Also self-actualization is and must remain an effect, namely the effect of meaningful fulfillment only to the extent to which men fulfill the meaning out there in the world does he fulfill himself.
Conversely, if he sets out to actualize himself rather than fulfill a meaning, self-actualization would immediately lose its justification. This is perfectly in accordance with Maslow's own view since he admits himself for instance, that the business of self-actualization can best be carried out via a commitment to an important job elsewhere. I have discussed this and some of the following issues in a more elaborate manner, he let me only add that excessive concern with self-actualization may be twice to a frustration of the will to meaning as the boomerang comes back to the hunter who had thrown it, only if it has missed its target. In the same way, man also returns to himself reflects upon himself and is intent upon self actualization only if he has missed his mission and if his search for meaning is frustrated.
If we take it for granted that fulfillment, more specifically meaningful fulfillment is the final goal of human life, it may well be that various tendencies are not only simultaneously conducive to this go as is the case with child bulls for basic tendencies but also successively. That is to say in successive stages of development. In the same vein, it would be justified to assume as Aron j <inaudible> does that the Fian pleasure principle is the guiding principle of the small child. The Aary power principle is that of the adolescent and the will meaning is the guiding principle of the met mature adult. Thus Ang phase, the development of the three schools of year e psychotherapy may be seen to mirror the antigen genetic development of the individual from childhood to maturity.
However, the main reason for stipulating such a sequence would be that in the earliest stages development there is no indication of a will to meaning, but this fact is no longer embarrassing. As soon as we recognize that life is a tight g, a time gau and as such becomes something whole, only after the life course has been completed, a certain phenomenon may therefore form a constitutive aspect of humanness and yet manifest itself only an advanced stage of development. Let us consider another definitely human capacity that of creating and using symbols. There is no doubt that it is a characteristic of humanness, although there is no one who has ever seen a newborn baby with a command of language. Now it's to an I empirically corroboration of the will to meaning concept. James c Cumbo and Leon t Maholic state, the trend of observational and experimental data is favorable to the existence of Frankie's hypothetically driving man.
This however brings up the question whether it is legitimate to speak of the will to meaning in terms of a driving man. As for myself, I should negate it for if we saw in the will meaning just another drive or need. Man would again be seen as a being basically concerned with his inner equilibrium. Obviously he would then fulfill meaning in order to satisfy a drive to meaning or need for meaning that is to save in order to restore his inner equilibrium. In any event, he would then fulfill meaning not for its own sake, but rather for his own sake. But even apart from subscribing to theta principle, conceiving of man's primary concern in terms of a drive would be an inaccurate description of the actual state of affairs in that an unbiased observation of what goes on in man whenever he's oriented what meaning would reveal the fundamental difference between being driven to something on the one hand and striving for something.
On the other hand, it is one of the immediate data of life experience that man is pushed by the drive that could by meaning, and this implies that it is always up to him to decide whether or not he wishes to fulfill meaning. Thus meaningful fulfillment always implies decision making. From this, it can be seen that the reason why I speak of a will to meaning is to preclude a misinterpretation of the concept in terms of a desire to meaning. By no means is a voluntaristic bias involved in the terminology. It is true that although May has argued that quote, the existential approach puts decision and will back into the center of the picture and after the existential psychotherapists are concerned with the problems of will and decision as central to the pastors of therapy. The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.
But I should like to add that we have also to take heed, let we relapse into preaching. Willpower will cannot be demanded, commanded, or ordered when cannot will tove and if the will to meaning is to be elicited, meaning itself has to be elucidated. <affirmative> what is true of pleasure and happiness also holds for peak experiences in the sense of math flows concept, they too are, it must remain effects. They too ensue and cannot be pursued. It is man flows contention that hunting peaks is a little like hunting happiness even more. He concedes that the word peak experiences is a generalization. However, this is still an understatement of the part of Malow because his concept is more than a generalization. In a way it is even oversimplification and the same hold for another concept, the pleasure principle, after all pleasure is the same, irrespective of what causes it and happiness is the same irrespective of the reason to experience it.
Again, it is Malow who admits that our inner experiences of happiness are very similar no matter what stimulate them and as to the peak experiences, he makes a parallel statement to the effect that they are uniform. Although the stimuli are very different, we get them from rock and roll, drug addiction and alcohol. Yet the subjective experience tends to be similar. Okay? It is obvious that dealing with the uniform forms of experiences rather than with their different content presupposes that the self transcendent quality of human existence has been shut out in the place. However, at every moment as all port puts it, man's mind is directed by some intention. Also, speaker bear refers to intention as the property of an act which points to an object. He leans on Brent's contention that every psychical phenomenon is characterized by the reference to a content, the ness to an object that also Melo is aware of this intentional quality of human experience as is evidenced by his statement that there isn't the real world no such thing as blushing without something to blush about. In other words, blushing always means blushing in a context.
Now, from this, we may see how important it is in psychology to view phenomena in a context more specifically to view phenomena such as pleasure, happiness, and peak experiences in the context with their respective objects. That is to say with the reason a person has to be happy and the reason he has to experience peaks and pleasure at the case may be conversely cutting off the objects to which such experiences a referral must eventuate in an impoverishment of psychology. That is why human behavior cannot be fully understood along the lines of the hypothesis that men care for pleasure and happiness irrespective of the reason to experience them. Such a motivational theory brackets the reasons which are different from each other in favor of the effect, which is the same in each and every case Actually, however, man does not care for pleasure and happiness as such, but have for that which causes these effects, be it the fulfillment of a personal meaning or the encounter with a human being.
This is most noticeable in the case of unhappiness. Let us imagine that an individual is mourning the death of a beloved person and is offered some tablets of a tranquilizing drug in order to bring him relief from his depression. Except for the case of neurotic escapism, we may be sure that he will refuse to tranquilize his grief away for he will argue that this would not change anything. The beloved would not be revived this way. In other words, the reason for being depressed would remain and unless he's a neurotic individual, he will in the first place be concerned with the reason for his depression rather than the remover of this depression. He will be realistic enough to know that posing one's eyes before an event does not do away with the event itself, and I think the scientists should be at least as realistic as man normally is, and explore the behavior of man in the context of its intentional referent.