I started to write this post with a point to make and a structure to work around it but part-way through I gave up, the events of last week took away my focus (both in the news and personally.) So yes, I gave up and just typed stuff. Here it is:

We all search for meaning in life, whether or not we know it. Logotherapy provides, when meaning is elusive or nonexistent, an attempt to restore it, to restore an individual’s human spirit.

From the Wikipedia article, a basic description:

“Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones. Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life. We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.”

It’s a branch of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is, I’ll admit, not my forte let alone within my experience. So, again quoting directly from the article, ‘we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways:

  1. By creating a work or doing a deed;
  2. By experiencing something or encountering someone; and
  3. By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering” and that “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”’

Pretty straightforward stuff it seems: some find meaning in the job they have, others in the sports teams they support, their friends, the pain of loss, or fundraising for those less-fortunate. Meaning can be found in scenarios from the passive involvement watching a television series, to the total immersion of running a country. Logotherapy provides a mechanism to make sense of life and to restore an individual’s sense of meaning, when all seems otherwise lost.

No, I’m not undergoing any form of externally-sourced therapy, I arrived here during a study of Totalitarianism, Authoritarianism and Inverted totalitarianism this last being, by the way, the most relevant to our times:

“In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism.”

First coined 14 years ago to describe the tendency of United States governments to increasingly ignore the best interests of all that country’s citizens in favour of the few at the top and those who shout the loudest, the description is eerily accurate now. 2016-2017 brought new lows: voter suppression, the rise of the far right, the rise of populism and nativism. The removal of essential healthcare protections in what was previously easily the world’s most expensive healthcare system is particularly disconcerting for those condemned to an uncertain fate by it, and must be utterly terrifying for those condemned to a certain fate.

I’m particularly interested right now in the bit about ‘intolerable suffering,’ especially my observations of the grades of what people imagine the term ‘intolerable’ means to them. We do after all live in times of hyperbole and instant gratification.

I’ve a list. It’s uncomfortable to write, but I’m in the mood:

I could go on, but thinking about things is hard, you see. I’ve enough on my plate just reaching the end of each day right now.

There’s a saying, purportedly Chinese, which is appropriate on so many levels. It’s this:

“May you live in interesting times.”

At first it seems a positive phrase, in this context however ‘interesting’ means unsettled, chaotic, even dangerous. It’s a curse.

We live in interesting times.