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The Greatest Human Freedom

Yesterday I watched a video of the late, great Austrian psychologist Victor Frankl. In the video he spoke about some of the guiding principals of logo therapy, a field of psychology which he founded. Logo therapy was a branch of psychology which focused on helping people to find meaning and purpose in their life. Frankl was also the author of the international best seller, Man's Search for Meaning. 

According to Frankl the greatest disservice that one can inflict upon another is not to place enough demands on the person. I couldn't agree with him more.  The trend I believe in our society today is to shirk responsibility, to live a solitary life without meaningful contact with others.  According to Frankl human behavior thrived on challenges.  Frankl, a concentration camp survivor himself used data from concentration camp survivors to support his claim. Frankl argued that there were far less suicides at the concentration camps then in socialist Austria.  The reasoning for this was the fact that in concentration camps people could find meaning through their adversity easier than in a socialist society where there wasn't too much adversity.

Why was this so?

According to Frankl the greatest desire that a human being had was the desire to find meaning.  So powerful was this desire that if not met the person would suffer physically, psychologically, and spiritually. In its worst cases a person would even commit suicide. Frankl was arguing that the reason the suicide rate was so high in Austria was because the state, through its generous welfare programs took the initiative away from a person to find meaning in their lives.  Once this basic desire was taken away the person was deprived of the very thing that made it possible to live.

Frankl mentioned that there were three ways in which one could find meaning in their lives: 1) Through work, 2) Through encountering another person or ideal, and 3) realizing that each person had the freedom to choose their response in any circumstance.

I, like Frankl agree that the greatest freedom a human being has is the ability choose their response to any given situation.  Let's face it we are bombarded daily with decisions.  But the more meaningfully one lives the more one will realize the inherent freedom one possesses. To live a life of true freedom is a gift from God.  It is one of the best aspects of being human.  We, as humans possess the awesome freedom to be active, not passive participants in life.  The more we exercise this freedom the more our influence grows.  The more our influence grows the more meaning we find in our lives.

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