Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl's Principles at Work
Dreamscape Media. ISBN Reviewed by Julie Judkins, Univ. Get Print. Get Digital. Get Both! Tags: books, current affairs, economy, self-help, viktor frankl. So what is dialogue and why is it so difficult to do? In fact, the concept of logos can be found in most of the great works describing the history of Christianity, as well as throughout the literature on religion and Western philosophy.
John had made it clear that Jesus was the Logos and, moreover, that the Logos was God. DIALOGUE with Deeper Meaning Interpreting logos in this way, that is, viewing it as a manifestation of spirit or soul, carries with it significant implications, both conceptual and practical. One must be open and willing to entertain a diversity of thought and discover a common ground by going to a higher ground.
Once again, this requires that we discover common ground in and through our relationship with others. At the time, I was President of Renaissance Business Associates, an international nonprofit association of people committed to promoting sound business ethics and elevating the human spirit in the workplace, and was facilitating a dialogue session with participants from some 80 countries at Mountain House.
To say the least, my entire experience at Caux was transformational and I learned more about the process of authentic dialogue in action during my stay at Mountain House than during any other time of my life! Tags: books, Dalai Lama, dialogue, spirituality, Viktor Frankl. Well, it's that time again; you know, for reflection and "self-reflection". As one year comes to a close and a new year gets ready to begin, I propose that each of us view this time period as an opportunity to reflect upon what really matters in life--in our life, in the lives of others, and in the world at large.
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To get you started, I've done some reflecting on what I call "Our Crisis of Meaning" Remember, this is a meaning-centered blog! Before I begin, let me underscore that within the Chinese symbol for the English word, "crisis," lies the very essence of "opportunity. Some 50 years ago, Viktor Frankl called attention to three major societal ills: aggression, addiction, and depression. Significantly, this triad comprised more than targets for psychiatric intervention the views of Tom Cruise and Scientology notwithstanding.
The mass neurotic triad was symptomatic of a contemporary world that was missing something; indeed, something vitally important to the nature of human existence itself. To Dr. In fact, he would probably argue that the problems of aggression, addiction, and depression are worse than when he first wrote about them after World War II. For example, when it comes to aggression, we see it manifest itself in ways that Dr. Frankl may not even recognize. Insofar as addiction and addictive behaviors are concerned, the situation, I would argue, is very similar.
Indeed, there is no person left behind when it comes to the powerful reach of the addictive mind. Frankl first called our attention to this phenomenon. Indeed, the statistics are staggering: about 16 percent of adults will experience depression at some point in their life; about 97 percent of those reporting depression also reported that their work, home life and relationships suffered as a result; women are twice as likely to experience depression as men; depression is the leading cause of disability in women; one in seven men will develop depression within 6 months of becoming unemployed; and so on.
Indeed, the implications of depression on such a macro-level can be, and usually are, profound. But where there is a crisis, there is also opportunity. And in the midst of the personal and collective suffering that surrounds us, there is hope for a better, more meaning-full future for all.
Prisoners of Our Thoughts
And, ultimately, as Frankl would say, it is meaning that sustains us throughout our lives no matter how little or how much power and pleasure come our way. It is meaning that can help us address the problems of aggression, addiction, and depression. It is meaning that will sustain us as we face the challenges of everyday life in our relationships, at work, and with society as a whole. However, it is up to each and every one of us to find this deeper meaning in order to reach the levels of human evolution and enlightenment that still await us.
Prisoners of Our Thoughts applies Viktor Frankl's philosophy and therapeutic approach to life and work in the 21st century, detailing seven principles for increasing your capacity to deal with life-work challenges, finding meaning in your daily life and work, and achieving your highest potential.
Among other changes, this new edition includes a new chapter on how readers of the hardcover edition have put the seven meaning-centered principles into action, both in their everyday lives and even in extreme situations such as in Indonesia after the tsunami where several aid agencies adopted the book as part of their training and relief programs and in post-Katrina New Orleans.
On September 2, , it will be ten years since Dr. Viktor Frankl passed on. It was the same week in when Princess Diana was killed in a tragic automobile accident on Sunday, August 31st and when Mother Teresa died on Friday, September 5th.
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Frankl's death occurred in the middle of this week--on Tuesday. Indeed, it was a very strange week for the world, a week of significant loss when one considers the humanitarian influence that each of these individuals had brought to bear during their respective life times. Beyond the Media Infatuations As we approach each of these three milestone dates and reflect upon the lives and legacies of Princess Diana, Dr. Frankl, and Mother Teresa, it is worth noting that only Dr. Frankl's memory and contributions to humankind seem to get overlooked by the mass media.
For me, it is a case of "deja vu" all over again! During the first week of September , the death of Princess Diana was the news, overshadowing the deaths of both Dr. Frankl and Mother Teresa. Ten years later, not much has changed. The infatuation with the life and death of Princess Diana has, once again, moved to center stage in both the printed and electronic media.
On television, for example, one can now watch "Diana's Last Day" or, for those who would like a more longitudinal view, "Princess Diana: The Legend and Legacy. In death, Mother Teresa has also caught the media's attention as we approach this historic week of "anniversaries. Interestingly, this same issue of Time also includes an essay on "The Diana Effect. As I write this posting, I am still waiting to come across some media coverage of the life and legacy of Viktor Frankl.
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I think that it will be fascinating to see what kind of attention to Dr. In this connection, I call on everyone who reads this blog to keep your eyes open for such occurrences and please-please-please let me and everyone else know what you find by contributing to this forum. A Legacy Remembered If there was ever a time to remember and pay tribute to the life and work of Viktor Frankl, we're living in it now. Indeed, the search for meaning has been called a "megatrend" of the 21st Century, a time when the inherent value of human existence seems to be held together by mere threads.
We live in world that seems to be in delicate balance with impending disaster poking its head around every corner. Even the resiliency of humankind is at risk, along with the survival of the humble planet upon which all humans take their sustenance. Not wanting, however, to sound entirely like a messenger of gloom, let me resurrect the wisdom of Viktor Frankl and offer an antidote to the existential dilemma that now plagues our postmodern world.
It's time to live and work, individually and collectively, with an explicit focus on meaning. As Dr. Frankl has firmly established in his System of Logotherapy, and as I have argued persuasively in my book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, it is the will to meaning, not either the will to pleasure or the will to power, that ultimately must be realized if we are to create a better world for ourselves and a better world for all. It is important to underscore that the notion of meaning, as used here, is derived from the ancient Greek word, "logos," which, not coincidentally, is the root of both Frankl's " Logo therapy" and the key word and powerful communication process , "dia logue.
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To a great extent, this is why I have proposed that Dr. Frankl not only "humanized" psychotherapy and, for that matter, the practice of medicine , but also "spiritualized" it as well. Viktor Frankl, to be sure, leaves a profound legacy. Throughout his life and his work, he reminds us that we all have important work to do, that whatever we do is important, and that there is meaning everywhere, all the time. Each of us, however, is personally responsible for discovering the seeds of meaning in whatever our circumstance, whatever our challenge. And remember, these seeds of meaning--as opposed to strict reliance on pleasure and power principles--hold the promise for a better world for all.
In the final analysis, whether or not the mass media chooses to acknowledge the tenth anniversary of Viktor Frankl's passing, I sincerely hope that YOU do. Please, pay attention and remember the significance of Dr. Frankl's life, work, and legacy at this critical time in our world's history.
In particular, I would love to hear from you about what his meaning-centered message "means" to you and to your life. And, of course, if you do happen to come across some media coverage of Dr.
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Frankl at this time, please let us all know about it! The Meaning Difference. Email Alex Pattakos.
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