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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Episode 2: Ultimate Meaning and Meaning of the Moment

Welcome to Episode 2 of LogoTalk: Ultimate Meaning and the Meaning of the Moment.

Logotherapy News:

The Seventeenth World Congress on Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy will be held June 17-21, 2009, in Dallas, Texas. Pre-Congress workshops are scheduled for June 15-17. This year's very timely theme is Finding Meaning and Purpose in Times of Global Change, Crisis and Chaos. LogoTalk will there, podcasting live from Dallas.

Some recent logotherapy books:

Say Yes to Life for the Sake of God by Rosemary Jaffin
Emotions Simplified by Emina Karamanovski, MD
Franklian Psychology: A Meaning Matrix for Spiritual Formation by Randy Scraper, PhD
Finding Meaning in Times of Change, Crisis and Chaos by Geri Marr Burdman, PhD
Logotherapy and the Logos of God in Christic Wisdom by Jeremiah Murasso, PhD
The Humanity of Mediators: From A Study of the Concepts of Viktor E. Frankl by Henry Albert Chan, PhD

Email from Our Listeners:

One potential listener is having trouble downloading the podcast. I think the bugs have been worked out...please try again and email if you have any more trouble.

Jessica writes to ask, "Do you happen to know of any resources for finding a Logotherapist?"

I have failed to find any national or international directories of logotherapists. If any listener knows of any, please comment at the end of this post, or email me at Your responses will be included in next month's podcast.

Ultimate Meaning and the Meaning of the Moment

Ultimate meaning is related to concepts of God. Frankl believed that each life had an ultimate meaning. He wrote:

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone's task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.

Ultimate meaning, however, may not be realized until near the end of life. In contrast, the meaning of the moment is something that can be discovered fresh each day, or each moment, in the following ways:

1) by creating a work or doing a deed
2) by experiencing something or encountering someone
3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering

This emphasis on responsibleness is reflected in the categorical imperative of logotherapy, which is: "Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!" It seems to me that there is nothing which would stimulate a man's sense of responsibleness more than this maxim, which invites him to imagine first that the present is the past and, second, that the past may yet be changed and amended. Such a precept confronts him with life's finiteness as well as the finality of what he makes out of both his life and himself.

Logotherapy, keeping in mind the essential transitoriness of human existence, is not pessimistic but rather activistic. To express this point figuratively we might say: The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him? "No, thank you," he will think. "Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy."

Compare these words of Viktor Frankl with Matthew 6:19-21:

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Click here to download Episode 2: Ultimate Meaning and the Meaning of the Moment

Thank you for listening, and may you have a meaningful day.