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Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:01 AM

There's More to Life Than Being Happy

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/



In September 1942, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna, was arrested and transported to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents. Three years later, when his camp was liberated, most of his family, including his pregnant wife, had perished -- but he, prisoner number 119104, had lived. In his bestselling 1946 book, Man's Search for Meaning, which he wrote in nine days about his experiences in the camps, Frankl concluded that the difference between those who had lived and those who had died came down to one thing: Meaning, an insight he came to early in life. When he was a high school student, one of his science teachers declared to the class, "Life is nothing more than a combustion process, a process of oxidation." Frankl jumped out of his chair and responded, "Sir, if this is so, then what can be the meaning of life?"

As he saw in the camps, those who found meaning even in the most horrendous circumstances were far more resilient to suffering than those who did not. "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing," Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning, "the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Frankl worked as a therapist in the camps, and in his book, he gives the example of two suicidal inmates he encountered there. Like many others in the camps, these two men were hopeless and thought that there was nothing more to expect from life, nothing to live for. "In both cases," Frankl writes, "it was a question of getting them to realize that life was still expecting something from them; something in the future was expected of them." For one man, it was his young child, who was then living in a foreign country. For the other, a scientist, it was a series of books that he needed to finish. Frankl writes:

This uniqueness and singleness which distinguishes each individual and gives a meaning to his existence has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love. When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude. A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how."

21 replies, 2814 views

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply There's More to Life Than Being Happy (Original post)
xchrom Jan 2013 OP
a la izquierda Jan 2013 #1
Sherman A1 Jan 2013 #2
pinboy3niner Jan 2013 #3
Voice for Peace Jan 2013 #7
pinboy3niner Jan 2013 #9
Voice for Peace Jan 2013 #12
Waiting For Everyman Jan 2013 #15
union_maid Jan 2013 #4
Myrina Jan 2013 #5
xchrom Jan 2013 #6
gateley Jan 2013 #19
H2O Man Jan 2013 #8
Shankapotomus Jan 2013 #10
backtoblue Jan 2013 #11
Liberal_Stalwart71 Jan 2013 #13
bvar22 Jan 2013 #14
gateley Jan 2013 #20
woo me with science Jan 2013 #16
ananda Jan 2013 #17
closeupready Jan 2013 #18
bvar22 Jan 2013 #21

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:31 AM

1. Really interesting read, thanks for sharing.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:54 AM

2. Thanks for Posting!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:03 AM

3. The last freedom: "to choose one's attitude"

There is some truth there. I'm probably not the only PTSD survivor who will recognize that...

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:35 AM

7. yes.

I find being happy exceedingly meaningful, it's my
primary goal each day. It's my vantage point where
I can see that despite all the troubles and trials, there
is beauty and joy in any given moment if I choose it.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:12 AM

9. I don't see happiness as my goal

But for me,in going through life immersed in news and politics, I take joy in small pleasures. Joking around with ny friends, and on DU.

And a recent note from an old friend who'd sent me a holiday gift said, "just a token to let you know how much and how highly I think of you."

It's stuff like that that means the world to me.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:51 AM

12. yes

though I'd add that it means a lot because it gives
you a happy feeling.. that's what I mean. To me
happiness isn't so much a quest as a series of
beautiful meaningful moments. Whatever it takes.

Because I have never ever taken it for granted
that there will be a tomorrow. So this day, these
moments I have now -- that's where happiness
is. Not something to be attained.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:30 PM

15. That's the money quote that I saw too.

I tell my daughter, it isn't what happens in life that matters, it's how we react to it that makes all the difference.

Nobody can control how we think or react, headspace is the ultimate free place.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:08 AM

4. Thank you for sharing

I think that this is a very important concept. Happiness is fragile at best. We need something more solid than that to get us through what life might have in store.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:24 AM

5. Another great one:

The Survivor, by Terence desPres
http://www.amazon.com/The-Survivor-Anatomy-Death-Camps/dp/0195027035/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1357827797&sr=8-8&keywords=the+survivor

I had to read it in college and its lessons - and many quotes - have stuck with me throughout life.

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Response to Myrina (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:31 AM

6. +1

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Response to Myrina (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 10:12 AM

19. Thank you -- I'll check it out.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:07 AM

8. Recommended.

Frankl's books were among those that Rubin digested, leading to his transformation in the New Jersey prison system.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:36 AM

10. Nice article

If my right wing father is ever in threat of being sent to a consentration camp, I'll consider sticking around.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:40 AM

11. kick and rec. thanks for this xchrom. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:52 AM

13. I've been feeling really depressed here lately. This was a great message and came just in time.

Thank you so very much!!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:19 PM

14. DURec!

Initially, I was going to object to the title of this article,
but the author save it with this quote directly under the title:

"It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness."

Now THAT is a hard sell in today's Greed/Consumption based culture.
Every input from our Marketing Oriented Media 24/7 promises "happiness"
if only we have the new:
IPOD,
More Hair,
less pimples,
less BO,
a brighter smile,
the new red sports car,
a younger, prettier wife,
longer erections (call your doctor if they last over 3 hours),
......,


It really is NOT what we have, or can Buy/Steal/Claim/Gain that is the source of "happiness'.
It is what we can Let-Go-Of that frees us up to find the happiness that is available.
My mind screams that those types of generalizations are easy to make from a perch that is safe & comfortable,
but Victor Frankl did not have those luxuries.



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Response to bvar22 (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 10:16 AM

20. ...

"It really is NOT what we have, or can Buy/Steal/Claim/Gain that is the source of "happiness'.
It is what we can Let-Go-Of that frees us up to find the happiness that is available. "

+1 Well said! And something I need to keep reminding myself.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:32 PM

16. DU

would be a much poorer place without your OP's.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:34 PM

17. I like Viktor Frankl.

I read his books late in college, recommended by a psychiatrist I was seeing during the summer. They're very good.

I saw this article earlier and read the title to a class. I asked: Is there more to life than being happy? One kid said, yes. I asked what, and he said reproducing. I then asked, is there more to life than reproducing? And he said, being happy.

I love wit.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:45 PM

18. Very similar to what the "Flower Power" Generation

believed, or subscribed to.

Yet, they later sold out, literally.

Remember that Bob Dylan interview on 60 Minutes a couple years back? He said, hey, look, I'm just a musician, not a prophet - that's all I ever was.

Anyway, it's a good article that provides food for thought. K&R.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:05 PM

21. "they later sold out, literally. "

Who were "The Hippies"?
Do you know?

The Hippies were relatively small in number, but had a huge impact on America.
So much of an impact that even today, 40 years later, some people are still angrily accusing them of "selling out".

There were several distinct movements during that time.
The biggest was the Anti-WAR movement.
They borrowed a lot of the music and symbols of the Hippies,
and the Hippies sheltered many of the Draft Dodgers.
While "The Hippies" were Anti-WAR, not everybody who was Anti-WAR was a Hippie.
The Vietnam War ended in 73, and the antiwar movement went home to the suburbs.

Madison Avenue and and other Commercial Predators "borrowed" a lot of the symbols associated with The Hippies, and wrung every penny out of it they could by selling that junk to gullible Americans, but it wasn't The Hippies that did that.
The Hippies were laughing at anyone that was foolish enough to buy that crap
and believe that by putting on some "Love Beads" they would magically become a "Hippie".

Then there were The Slackers & Stoners (non-contributors just like today) who hung around The Hippies for the dope, but were not really Hippies.
They all went to jail or to rehab.

We're getting old now, and many are gone,
but The Hippies are still with us, all across America.
We all know each other,
and even have a secret handshake and use a secret eye blink code to communicate with each other. We've moved beyond the banality of mere words.
We simply KNOW.
Sometimes, a stranger passing through will Look Up in a rare moment of clarity and say,"Hey, you guys are old Hippies, aren't you."
And we will just smile the "secret" smile of non acknowledgement.

If you would like to find some Hippies, go to the farmers markets, or Craft Fairs,
or small town Arts & Craft Shops. Old Hippies will be running those.
The most creative artists you find there will be Old Hippies.
That is how we pay our taxes and keep our land.

Try it out.
Go to a craft fair, find a relaxed vendor that looks over 60,
sitting in a back corner, quietly working on his/her next piece.
Pretend to be looking at something on the table,
then look up and say, "Hey, You're and old Hippie, aren't you."
THEN, you will get to see the Secret Smile.



---bvar22 & Starkraven
Living Well on a low Taxable Income,
and stuff we learned in the 60s!




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