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FREEDOM IN THOUGHT PRODUCTIONS[Music Playing]
What does suffering mean to you?
For Viktor Frankl and other unfortunate souls,
it meant being imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps.
These camps were disgusting places full of torture, pain and suffering.
Chances of surviving were at most, 1 in 28.
Prisoners found themselves rejoicing at the sight of a few peas
in an otherwise watery bowl of soup.
If that’s the happiest part of someone’s day,
it says a lot about how much their suffering.
Prisoners often worried about the well-being of their family and friends who had been separated from them.
It’s hard to even imagine the suffering that the prisoners went through.
Amidst their suffering, many prisoners contemplated,
and many performed suicide by running into the electric fences.
These prisoners ceased to have hope.
They saw no future for themselves.
They felt that their lives had become meaningless and they’d lost the will to live.
On the other hand,
some prisoners, like Viktor were able to find meaning in their suffering.
In a world where people will commonly say “Why me?”
whenever something bad happens,
I wanted to find out how someone could persevere through one of the darkest periods in humankind,
and find an answer to that question for themselves.
Prior to World War Two,
essentialism was a fairly standard belief.
This was the idea that we were born with an “essence”.
An essence can be considered as
a part of a person, or thing that defines them.
Without that defining quality, they would no longer be that thing.
For example, the specific sperm and egg that made me are a part of my essence.
If it were a different sperm or a different egg,
I would no longer be me.
Some philosophers believe that as part of our essence we were born with a purpose.
The atrocities witnessed during World War Two really made humanity question this.
It’s understandable to question whether life really has a predestined meaning
if all someone experiences is suffering.
After World War Two,
the concept of existentialism became much more widespread.
Existentialism is the idea that we’re born without a purpose,
and that we’re left to define our own.
This is often stated as “existence precedes essence”.
We’re born first into a meaningless world,
and then we define our own meaning.
Some people think that existentialism is a depressing view of the world,
because it says that the world has no ultimate and objective meaning.
They may see it as a beautiful and liberating philosophy.
One that allows them to find a potentially infinite amount of meaning in the world,
and gives them the freedom to define that for themselves.
一天中的每秒 每分 每小时
Every second, every minute, every hour of every day,
they have the ability to define a new meaning for themselves,
a new reason to live.
Existentialism was the key philosophy that
allowed Viktor Frankl to find meaning in his suffering
during his time in concentration camps.
To quote him,
“When we are no longer able to change a situation –
just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer-
we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Existentialists have the ability to take an adversity and overcome it,
or empower themselves by giving it meaning.
As circumstances change, they give themselves the freedom to change their meanings and attitudes.
They don’t ask life what its meaning is,
but they are constantly being asked by life.
How they choose to live is their answer.
Frankl argues that humans do not seek a tensionless state.
In fact, a tensionless state can result in another problem
that Viktor called the existential vacuum:
a complete lack of purpose or meaninglessness in life.
Viktor argues that it’s within this vacuum that
会出现沮丧 好斗 癖嗜等情况
depression, aggression and addiction can arise.
I believe that Viktor would argue that
in order to overcome this dilemma, a certain amount of tension is required.
But this tension must be worth overcoming for the individual.
So it’s not about avoiding suffering or stress at all costs,
but finding meaning in suffering, or finding something worth suffering for.
I think this quote by Viktor beautifully summarizes the key take away:
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Think of somenone being cut off in rush hour traffic.
在这个突发事件中 从他死的那一刻到人们采取措施的那一刻 中间留有时间
In between the impulse, them being cut off, and their reaction there is a space.
In this space, they have the ability to choose their reaction to that impulse.
In the same way, there is a space between our suffering and our reaction to it.
We have the ability to choose our reaction and give new meaning to our suffering.
In a way, we become worthy of our suffering.
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本视频由The Great Courses Plus 赞助