The question of the meaning of life cannot be overstated in its significance; nor can its controversial nature be denied. Philosophers, psychologists, and psychotherapists, as well as ordinary people, have never stopped trying to give a constructive answer to the question of the meaning of life. Taking into account the very essence of human existence and consciousness, it can be justified why there is such enormous interest in discovering the sense of the presence of humankind on the Earth. The sufferings experienced due to existential frustration (Frankl) are the most powerful ones and can provoke neuroses. The lack of life meaning becomes the reason for the state of “existential vacuum” the consequences of which are treated with the help of logotherapy. The latter is a psychotherapist school that belongs to the existential philosophical doctrine and was founded by an Austrian philosopher and psychotherapist Viktor E. Frankl. The current paper utilizes the ideas of this author in abundance with the aim of distinguishing personal understandings and perceptions of the meaning of life, as well as its role in one’s own life philosophy. Along with Frankl’s concepts, the present study considers certain ideas of several other theorists, which seem to be most productive for my personal statement of life, its meaning and future outcomes.
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The motivational sphere of personality plays the most important role in organizing and directing human energy towards the realization of one’s life purpose. Every psychological theory presents its views on the nature of the driving forces that influence or determine human behaviors. In regard to my own life philosophy and understanding, Frankl’s concepts seem to be the most useful. Although Frankl does not repudiate Freud and builds on the contributions of his psychodynamic theory, his core understanding of human motivation differs. While Freud, as well as Adler and other psychoanalysts, emphasize the role of conflicts and unconscious motives, Frankl defines a will to discover meaning as the directing driving force. The theorist regards the will to discover meaning as a primary motivational factor in a person’s life. He argues against the psychoanalytical theories that it is not a secondary rationalization of instinctual drives and yearnings for pleasure (as in Freudian theory) or superiority (as in Adlerian theory). His logotherapy, one of the theories belonging to existential analysis, is evidently more focused on the human being and his/her free will, conscious choice, and the ability to influence one’s own destiny. I consider Frankl’s views on motivation to be more human-centered and revealing the higher, spiritual aspects of human beings. A decent representative of humanity should be able to control one’s aspirations and longings, distinguishing the meaning of life and accordingly one’s goals. The will to discover meaning as a motivational driving force makes an individual move in the direction of making his/her life significant, decent, and worth of living. It also forces one to search for the understanding as to what tasks should be fulfilled by him/her, and then try hard to reach excellence in the chosen field.
In this respect, Frankl explains the reasons of neurosis by the frustration of the will to discover meaning, rather than by sexual frustration described by Freud. The so-called “noogenic” neuroses do not emerge from the conflicts of subconscious drives, instincts, and impulses, or from the clashes between the id, ego, and superego (Frankl). The roots and sources of noogenic neuroses lie in existential problems. The most interesting aspect in this regard is that according to Frankl, existential frustration and a certain amount of conflict caused by challenging the person’s will to discover meaning are healthy and not pathological. Indeed, Frankl acknowledges that existential despair can provoke distress but not a mental disease. On the contrary, existential frustration ultimately leads to personal growth, spiritual development and finding “hidden logos” or meanings (Frankl) in one’s existence.
One more thing I clearly realize is that there is no common meaning of life for everyone. Frankl takes into account some people’s requests to tell them exactly how and where to find the meaning of life. The philosopher is right saying that a person must answer such a vital question by oneself. Moreover, it is necessary to continually search for it since it is changing and can be different for one individual at different periods in life. It becomes evident when one looks at the life course through the lens of gained experience and time, which passed. Reflection helps to realize that one’s own life is in dynamics, as well as a spiritual and mental state. The principal question concerning one’s life and one’s conscious decision as for how to live it is a clear understanding that it is not life itself that is supposed to give ready-made answers about the meaning of life. It is the other way round: an individual has to make effort, search for, and finally find out what life expects from him/her (Frankl 98). Moreover, as Frankl states, it is necessary to show your purposefulness and meaningful existence not in thoughts or meditations but in real deeds and actions. Virtually, this difference and understanding of the proper emphasis are very important. Sensible reasoning suggests that if a person awaits something from life, it is very easy for him/her to get despaired the moment severe conditions ensue. As in the concentration camps, people with a wrong attitude to life abandoned hope because they genuinely felt there was nothing more for them to expect from life. With such an attitude, it is logical to conclude that in such inhuman conditions, with the real prospect of death, without hope for salvation, the only thing that remains is to give in and turn to despair. The same would be true in any other difficulty or adversity, especially in case of a deathly illness or a disaster. There is much sorrow around that could strike at any time unexpectedly. However, with the right attitude to life as proposed by Frankl, it seems obvious and easy for an individual to remain purposeful and bear all crucibles with spiritual power. According to Frankl, the despairing men have to learn that “it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.” (98) In other words, it is more productive to stop looking for the meaning of life, but instead to think deeply about what life expects from us, which goals we are to achieve and which tasks we should fulfill. Moreover, one should take responsibility to find the right answers and this is where the essence of the whole existence lies. Lastly, even in unhopeful situations, it is necessary to remember that one still has certain tasks awaiting him/her, which life demands to fulfill. This responsibility helps not to despair, but rather survive, bearing “anyhow” (Frankl 97).
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Furthermore, Frankl asserts that a human being should not find oneself in the state of homeostasis, nor does he/she should strive for it for the sake of absolute satisfaction of all needs and desires and the lack of any tension at all. I would rather support Frankl’s view that people are healthier in constant “noodynamics,” or “existential dynamics,” as he calls it. In his understanding, it means that they never stop searching for meaning. Judging from personal experience, I can assert that it is absolutely true. When I achieve a certain long-desired goal, it seems I should feel completely satisfied and understand the essence of a meaningful life, but new strivings start seizing my mind. New horizons begin to open in front of me, and I cannot help thinking of how to reach them and long for realizing new opportunities. In such a way, almost at once, I start experiencing a sort of tension again. For example, it concerns my attitude about studying and striving to reach perfection every time. Thus, I have resolved to pursue education and other opportunities without the limitations of international borders. As Frankl said, tension is necessary to pull the will for meaning. Homeostasis and tensionless state are dangerous and capable of provoking neuroses of different kinds. It only seems at a first casual glance that it is better not to expose oneself to any sort of tension, but just relax. However, personal life experience indicates that Frankl is right stating that a human being is happier and healthier being in the state of striving and struggling for a chosen goal. As the theorist claims, what an individual need is not homeostasis, but existential dynamics. Even distress is better than a meaningless existence that lacks any sense. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi confirmed this idea showing in his research that the worst physical state of a person is when he/she does something without any purpose and motivation, just because he/she has nothing else to do. This sense of meaningless activity makes people feel emptiness and can ultimately lead to the development of addiction or neuroses. In contrast, Csikszentmihalyi showed that people have the most elated and inspired feelings when they implement their consciously chosen goals and engage in a particular activity voluntarily. After all, clear cut goals distinguish what our life will be like and what we will become. Without definite goals, an individual cannot shape and develop their own personality and find meaning in everyday life and the time available to them.
The example of those living in the most strenuous conditions of the Nazi camp shows that a clear goal for the future can literally save a person’s life. The body’s powers of resistance, immunity and inner strength directly depend upon whether an individual can see a distinct aim, which he/she can pursue. In this regard, Frankl cites Nietzsche’s words, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how” (97). Those of the prisoners who have lost any purpose and cannot find any more sense in their “naked” existence, soon give up both morally and physically and ultimately die. Logically, the same happens in modern times to the people who do not manage to find a sense in their living. The same danger of moral, spiritual and also physical death is awaiting them.
Abraham Maslow, in his theory of motivation, explained the aforementioned tension, which is understood by Frankl as striving for life meaning, in the following way. The above-mentioned humanist psychologist stated that the reason for such tension lied in a specific contradiction between a person’s desires on the one hand, and the lack of opportunities to achieve them on the other. As a result, the individual begins to search for opportunities, which could enable him/her to achieve the desired goals. This contradiction between the available resources and the desired outcomes is the power that facilitates movement and development. Maslow attempted to overcome the simplistic approach to the human personality of the behaviorist and psychodynamic theories. He did it through penetrating into the higher levels of human nature than mere instincts, impulses, and social influences. Additionally, he stressed that human nature should be regarded as the whole entity, which cannot be dissected into parts of a structure and analyzed in sections.
I support this holistic, humanistic approach to a human being, which is also close to Frankl’s phenomenological and existential view of an individual and his/her life. I agree with psychologists who consider a personality to be unique and utterly unpredictable because one always has a choice as to how to behave in certain situations (Frankl; Csikszentmihalyi). In this regard, Frankl investigates the concept of “spiritual freedom” in relation to the potential human capacity to rise beyond conditions and make a willful and conscious choice concerning one’s own attitude to these conditions. Even in the worst imaginable circumstances, which cannot be controlled or influenced, a person still has the choice to control one’s attitude to the outer conditions. This spiritual freedom cannot be taken away from an individual, and it “makes life meaningful and purposeful” (Frankl). Furthermore, having made a choice, an individual encounters the problem of responsibility. It should be noted though that according to Frankl, responsibility also contributes to the feeling of a meaningful life when a person lives not in vain. It fills one’s life and deeds with the existential sense and helps to survive in the most severe situations. I appreciate the idea that the sense of responsibility once undertaken will never make a person despair and discard the desire to live and move forward. Thus, life itself remains the highest value and reason to live, to stand to the end and search for new potentialities waiting in the future. No wonder that Frankl called his theory less introspective and retrospective but more directed to the future.
Frankl emphasizes throughout his theoretical reflections that a human being is not determined by the outer factors, either biological or psychosocial. In this relation, he argues with the deterministic theories, which claim that a person is influenced by different factors and his/her behavior can be predicted. Frankl presents evidence-based reasoning for the unpredictability of a personality. His examples of “great heroes” and “martyrs” indicate that human will is stronger than the most horrible conditions and instincts. They refused the last pieces of bread in favor of the weaker prisoners though this refusal was threatening them with death from hunger. In such a way, nothing can break the human capacity to choose one’s own attitudes, behaviors, and destiny. According to Frankl, “Man does not simply exist but decides what his existence will be”.
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So, Frankl’s views support the concept of heterostasis as opposed to the psychodynamic and behaviorist theories, which present an individual as a mere arena for the fight of different factors, such as biological, psychological, sociological, and others. They are prone to present a human being as unable to control various instincts, impulses, or powerful superego, which have their own requirements. All of these factors are claimed to control the individual who does not have the capacity to make his/her own choice or decision. In contrast, Frankl showed vivid horrible examples from the Nazi concentration camp that human nature can win over any influential factors. There were a number of people who managed to remain human in the inhuman and indecent conditions. Frankl admitted that even if there had been only one such example, it would have been enough to indicate that the power of human nature is overwhelming and unconquerable.
Similarly, Csikszentmihalyi recognizes that there are factors, which make people behave according to their instincts, physiological needs or impulses. The same is true concerning the factors associated with the demands of society and culture, which can also influence people’s behavior to a great extent. On the other hand, the theorist states that people always have the possibility to make their own conscious choice and control their destiny and their way of life. He offers an example of the workers from the times of industrial revolution, whose labor was similar to slavery. They spent more than 80 hours per week in mines or factories. Nevertheless, there were people among them, who spent their precious free time on education or participation in political movements while the majority could be found in bars (Csikszentmihalyi 8).
In my opinion, one of the gravest problems of contemporary society and modern generation is that we have all means for living in comfort but lack the meaning of life. At the same time, individuals who have an established life purpose will handle just anything (Frankl 11). The most important thing in life that keeps each person going is finding the meaning of life. However, most people do not find this meaning until it is too late and thus live “meaningless” lives. A significant proportion of American adults do not think their lives have a clear sense of purpose. When people did not have all the conveniences and technologies we have today, they did not suffer from so many neuroses or commit suicides associated with the lack of life meaning and the feeling of emptiness. The people of the past knew for sure what to strive for and what purpose to pursue. At least, they had the primary aim to survive in poor, life-threatening conditions, and to get vital means to support their families. Besides, they had little leisure because of a huge amount of hard work to be done. And the leisure presents a danger for people who do not know how to use it constructively (Frankl; Csikszentmihalyi). It is enough to recall the so-called “Sunday neurosis” (Frankl), which is caused by the lack of content in people’s lives. Although we are amazed and cannot understand how people could work so hard and live under severe conditions, the availability of free time presents even greater challenges. At the same time, one should not forget that the core problem is not the availability of time. The problem is rather in people’s inability to fill this time with content and sense. Hence, it is vital to work at one’s spiritual and mental sphere and search for the means of how to improve it in order to become a more decent representative of the human race.
Continuing the topic of motivation by own strivings for the sake of consciously chosen goals in contrast to motivation by certain stimuli or subconscious desires, Maslow’s views seem to be interesting and productive. The theorist suggested a theory, which managed to present an alternative to the cynic deterministic theories. The latter proclaimed the impossibility of the improvement of humanity due to its innate defective features and vicious nature. Maslow discovered the power of people’s goodwill, intrinsic human values of honesty, kindness, and generosity, as well as generally “life-loving” human nature (x). The most constructive idea from Maslow’s theory is the importance of the highest aspirations in the life of a personality. Thus, the psychologist asserts that the most powerful and productive motives that occupy the highest level of the hierarchy of needs are associated with an individual’s striving for personal growth, self-actualization, identity, autonomy, and excellence. All of these are essentially human yearnings, which rise over the lower needs determined by natural desires and instincts. Maslow asserts that healthy personalities should invariably search for opportunities to actualize and discover their potential abilities, capacities, and talents. Such a position also supports the principle of heterostasis in contrast to homeostasis. Similarly to Frankl’s noodynamic theory, Maslow describes the universal human tendency towards striving “upward” (x??). I agree with Maslow that higher human needs or meta needs are much more determinative than lower needs, which are also present in human motivation. In other words, a healthily developed personality is prone to strive for self-actualization, accomplishment, and excellence rather than for mere satisfaction of physiological or other lower needs.
However, Frankl went even further beyond the concept of self-actualization, and I find this especially valuable in his existential theory, especially for one’s effective life philosophy. What I mean here is Frankl’s statement that even self-actualization should not be the ultimate goal of human strivings. To be a healthy and harmonious personality, one should go further beyond one’s own self and concentrate on the outer world. This idea is embodied in the concept of self-transcendence. It suggests that the true meaning must be discovered in the world, in certain actions or accomplishments, feelings or experiences, or in other people, but not within one’s inner being. Thus, self-actualization is also important, but as a by-product, or side effect of self- transcendence. According to Frankl, it is not an actual goal. A person achieves it only in the process of longing for a determined aim outside one’s psyche and forgetting oneself in pursuit of certain life meaning. Similarly, the success ensues as a by-product of devoting oneself to a chosen goal, which has a definite meaning and is achieved at a definite time. As Frankl claims that neither happiness, nor success must be pursued; they must ensue, or happen when one forgets even to wait or strive for them.
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In addition, Csikszentmihalyi’s views on happiness in life seem to be worth considering. According to the theorist, the sense and perception of happiness are closely connected with the activities we engage in. While accomplishing certain meaningful and especially challenging work, which demands the highest level of a person’s skills, one can experience the sense of being active, cheerful, and full of energy. In particular, an individual realizes his/her free will in the choice of activity, which he/she wants to implement in order to reach professional growth. The right personal choice of meaningful activity distinguishes the extent to which the individual will experience a sense of happiness. However, the feeling of pleasure and happiness is not enough to realize life meaning and fill life with full content. Csikszentmihalyi asserts (and here his views are close to those of Frankl) that a considerable part of everyone’s life is devoted to the achievement of the goals, which fill life with meaning. Without the yearnings to use one’s mind at its most, without risking and dreaming of new horizons, human life cannot be full-blooded and utterly valuable. Csikszentmihalyi calls this process of searching for a meaningful life “finding the flow.” In the state of “flow”, a person is concentrated on gaining maximum from the activity undertaken. Consequently, one can utilize all the capacities and skills to the greatest extent. If an individual manages to achieve the state of “flow”, it opens all possible energy resources and enables unbiased and unrubrificated perception of the reality in its fullest objectivity (Csikszentmihalyi). Thus, one can start living a life he/she has been dreaming about, with the acute sense of its significance and high quality. For this reason, it is important to choose appropriate goals that would be relevant at a certain life stage. Correctly chosen goals will help me personally organize my energy and direct it at the most accomplished performance in the field I have chosen as the most meaningful for myself.
In this regard, the main point is to strive for life meaning and to realize it. Frankl divides the possible ways to find potential meaning into three groups. The first one is creation; it implies the active production of goods or deeds. This category includes one’s intention to achieve perfection in the chosen field. My studying brought meaning to my life and made it full of significance from my point of view. In the future, I will strive to finish a Master’s degree program as a Saudi Arabian international student in the United States. Afterward, I will try hard to fulfill my life-long dream of owning a business in my country. I have been for long interested in interior designs; thus, I wish to start a company in this field after going back to Saudi Arabia. For sure, I will use my educational achievements, skills, competencies, and talents to achieve success. The principal aim is to achieve some significant outcomes in the chosen sphere. My personal development and the discovery of talents and abilities, which are potentially inherent to me, play an important role in my aspirations. I should even confess that these had been my primary goals before I read Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. Now I see his rational view that goals fixed on oneself are not very effective and human enough. As he asserts, “being human means that someone is directed to someone or something” (Frankl). Moreover, I consider centeredness on my own self even more dangerous since it can lead to disappointment and despair. If a person does not observe the imagined and dreamed result in one’s development or insufficient personal success, he/she can end up having low self-esteem and conflicting self-evaluations. Besides, when an individual attempts to judge the level of his/her own success, he/she frequently relies on the evaluations given by other people. They can be subjective and unfair, but still, the person becomes dependant on them. Finally, extreme attention to oneself prevents people from an objective and adequate perception of reality and the surrounding world in general. Overall, it is more constructive to find efficient activity and achieve success in life concentrating on well-defined noble goals and striving for professional growth. Every individual should determine their purpose to ensure that one lives a meaningful and purposeful life to achieve life purposes.
Further, a person can find meaning in passive experiencing the world’s richness or encountering and taking care of other human beings. Thus, it is possible to find meaning in enjoying such eternal phenomena as truth, goodness, beauty, nature, or culture (Frankl). Particularly, one can attain meaning in experiencing “another human being in his very uniqueness, by loving him” (Frankl). I find Frankl’s views on love especially valuable for me personally. I think a person can never lose the meaning of life if he/she has someone to love and take care of when one forgets about oneself and concentrates on another person’s good. For me personally, the love for my family is a significant part of my life and the meaning of it. I consider caring for the family to be one of the eternal values in human life and even one of the most important ones. Therefore, my plans include having children in the near future and providing them with comfort and love. I agree with Frankl that one should love and take care of close people, and discover their best potential features and qualities. As Frankl states, “no one can become aware of the whole essence of another human being unless he loves him.” I realize the importance of the right attitude to my beloved one; this attitude enlarges happiness and promotes the development of personal qualities and talents. I will never treat my close people with jealousy or a sense of ownership. All my motives will be directed towards their happiness and welfare. By discovering their positive qualities, even those that are potential, I will realize my own meaning of life.
The third means to find life meaning is to become worthy of one’s own sufferings, in Dostoyevsky’s words (as cited by Frankl). It happens when life itself aims to test an individual by hardships, crucibles of different kinds, or even deathly diseases. Some lose the presence of spirit and their human essence when caught in adversity; others emerge even stronger and more accomplished. Frankl describes people experiencing horrible conditions of a concentration camp, where nothing was left to them except their “naked existence”. Nothing worse can be imagined than living under the circumstances of the Nazi camp, where the value of human dignity and life itself was lost. In such inhuman conditions, there were people who managed to remain saints; they preserved their spiritual nature and did not forget to be decent representatives of the human race. For this reason, outer circumstances cannot determine human behavior; the personality itself has the capacity to make a decision to remain worthy and strong in any circumstances. Concerning my desire to become a director of my own company, I appreciate Frankl’s views in regard to a strong personality, able to overcome any predicaments and rise over unfavorable circumstances. I should learn to “transform a personal tragedy into a triumph” and turn any adversity into “a human achievement” (Frankl ). To become a true leader, I have to develop the ability to deal with and even learn from the most severe hardships, setbacks, or failures. As Frankl said, when we cannot change the situation, we get a chance to change ourselves. So, I will never stop improving and striving to become a better person and leader, capable of enduring hardships and crucibles.
In this respect, Bennis and Thomas speak about a crucible and define it as “a transformative experience through which an individual comes to a new or an altered sense of identity” (40). In everyday routine life, without any outstanding events and unexpected incidents, people’s hidden potentials of soul and mind may remain undiscovered and not realized. In the cases of crucible experiences, suppressed areas of a soul come to light and show all their strengths, which otherwise would have remained is the only potential. Truly gifted leaders possess strong personal qualities and after severe crucibles, like illness or violent acts, they remain loyal to a belief that virtually nothing can make them fall into despair. In the professional life of a leader, it will undoubtedly lead to success in any available conditions (Bennis and Thomas 42-44). I have made up my mind to be courageous enough to face any challenges and perceive them as a chance to develop my skills, life values, philosophy, and my own emotional sphere. Thus, I will look for new opportunities in various destabilizing difficulties since they will present a chance to practice dealing productively with a range of negative and paralyzing emotions, including fear, disappointment, anger or depression. Hence, I will learn how to control my emotional state and improve my problem-solving skills. Bennis and Thomas associate the qualities necessary to overcome crises with the qualities possessed by the most efficient leaders. They claim that crucible experience is the thing that motivates leaders to self-reflection and forces them to consider the basic questions about own identity, values, and life meaning. I will strive to develop my personality and learn from negative experiences trying to regard them as stimuli to change certain aspects of my attitudes and behaviors. I know that to become a truly efficient leader, I should “extract strength and wisdom from [my] most trying experiences” (Bennis and Thomas 39) In general, the highest human capacity is to find meaning in the hardest sufferings and heartily believe that “God preserves all your tears” (Frankl), and that every suffering has its sense.
One more concept closely connected and relevant to the notion of life meaning is the issue of choosing the right set of beliefs. The importance of the right belief system is exemplified by the huge interest of philosophers and other thinkers towards this aspect. The main point is that the set of beliefs presents an efficient worldview, which would guarantee balance, harmony with the inner and outer world, and happiness in life. Researchers investigate the whole range of possible doctrines, from religious beliefs to atheism, as, for example, Barbara Ehrenreich in her book Living With A Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search For The Truth About Everything. Being a rationalist, a hereditary atheist and a scientist by training, she has ultimately come to a belief that there is “something out there.” People can call it “mystery” or “transcendence” but whatever it is, it is worth searching for throughout the whole life course, even if a person is a non-believer (Ehrenreich). In her book, the author considers her deepest thoughts written at a teenager and is concerned with the question of the reason to live. Generally speaking, I believe that the main issue is to find meaning in one’s existence. Some find it in the deity existence, others in love and care for other human beings. However, it is extremely important to find the right set of beliefs and the right worldview, which would correspond to human absolute eternal values and ethical principles.
Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek offer interesting views on people’s sets of beliefs that may vary. In addition, the authors prove their views by evidence-based reasoning and logical judgments, so that their ideas are worth considering. Appealing to sound reason and mind, the theorists attempt to persuade the readers that one can and even must find the absolute truth that is the right worldview. They suggest doing it based not on blind faith but argumentation, criticizing, and consequential judgment while analyzing any piece of information, either the Bible or an atheist’s beliefs. In such a way, Geisler and Turek prove that the right worldview is Christianity; it suggests the most effective guidance in terms of choosing the constructive meaning of life. The theorists assert that the Bible gives true answers to the five greatest questions of humanity related to our origin, identity, meaning, morality, and destiny. In the same manner, Geisler and Turek emphasize that the choice of destiny is in one’s own hands. They assert that God’s love is so infinite that he does not force his sons to accept the gift and respect their choice to reject it. Therefore, the authors underline the importance of a free will and decision regarding one’s religious beliefs. It actually depends on the free will to decide what beliefs to have, and in case we make the right choice, our lives will be meaningful, and depend on our free choice. I find these views very productive for shaping my own destiny and future life. Frankl is also neither antireligious nor pessimistic, as Gordon W. Allport stated in the preface to the book Man’s Search for Meaning. In spite of his sufferings and horrible experiences in Nazi camps, he preserved the faith in humanity and its capacity “to transcend . . . predicament and discover an adequate guiding truth” (Frankl 31).
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I find Geisler and Turek’s views on morality most valuable for my personal development. The authors consider the reasons and motives that induce people to do good things and appreciate absolute values, such as love, courage, virtue, and justice. I like their idea concerning the existence of absolute ethical norms and morality and their statement that everyone has the “deep-seated sense of obligation”, “intuitive sense that they ought to do good and shun evil” (Geisler and Turek 135). Without a common moral law “written on our hearts” and ethical prescriptions for the whole humanity, life is meaningless and there is nothing absolutely right or wrong. I agree with the theorists that the morality of actions cannot be just a matter of opinion, and there should not be different truths for every separate individual. Otherwise, the actions of Hitler versus Mother Teresa would be judged merely according to one’s likes and dislikes (Geisler and Turek). Furthermore, everyone knows the basic ethical principles although some prefer to deny their existence. I believe the concept of the absolute moral law is very useful and productive for everyone’s life as it helps to bring order to it. It helps to define the objective right and wrong and to guarantee human rights and ultimate justice in the world.
To summarize, the paper has attempted to consider the most important concepts and notions associated with life meaning. Owing to a critical reflection on some of the most interesting theories concerned with the quality of life and the free choice of destiny, one may draw valuable conclusions for shaping their own life philosophy. It turns out that the will and striving for meaning is the central motive of a healthy personality. In order to become happy and successful, an individual has to find his/her own meaning of life, as well as distinguish goals and strive to achieve them. Happiness and success will ensue as by-products of such an attitude to life and destiny. Overall, the most important thing is to remain a decent representative of the human race, have the right set of ethical beliefs and values and get engaged in a meaningful activity following a high level of accomplishment.