10 März 2015

Ecce Homo II (Existenzialismus I)

"(...) if death is inevitable, if all of our accomplishments, indeed our entire solar system, shall one day lie in ruins, if the world is contingent (that is, everything could as well have been otherwise), if human beings must construct the world and the human design within that world, then what enduring meaning can there be in life? 
This question plagues contemporary men and women, and many seek therapy because they feel their lives to be senseless and aimless. We are meaning-seaking creatures. Biologically, our nervous systems are organized in such a way that the brain automatically clusters incoming stimuli into configurations. Meaning also provides a sense of mastery: feeling helpless and confused in the face of random, unpatterned events, we seek to order them and, in doing so, gain a sense of control over them. Even more important, meaning gives birth to values, and, hence, to a code of behavior: thus the answer to why questions (Why do I live?) supplies an answer to how questions (How do I live?). 
(...) The search for meaning, much like the search for pleasure, must be conducted obliquely. Meaning ensues from meaningful activity: the more we deliberately pursue it, the less likely are we to find it; the rational questions one can pose about meaning will always outlast the answers. In therapy, as in life, meaningfulness is a by-product of engagement and commitment, and that is where therapists must direct their efforts - not that engagement provides the rational answer to questions of meaning, but it causes these questions not to matter." 
Irvin D. Yalom, Love's Executioner

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