More than we desire peace, we desire meaning

[I]t can be seen that mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what one should become. Such a tension is inherent in the human being and therefore is indispensable to mental well-being. We should not, then, be hesitant about challenging man with a potential meaning for him to fulfill. It is only thus that we evoke his will to meaning from its state of latency. I consider it a dangerous misconception of mental hygiene to assume that what man needs in the first place is equilibrium or, as it is called in biology “homeostasis”, i.e., a tensionless state. What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.

–Viktor Frankl (neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor)


3 thoughts on “More than we desire peace, we desire meaning

  1. Reblogged this on The Mermaid Swims… Strait Way to New and commented:
    Karen, This is good. To find meaning is one of my 2015 resolutions. Finding Meaning is sometimes beautiful, but more often painful. How to find beauty in pain… hm. I first became familiar with Viktor Frankl’s writing in the 1980s at Texas Lutheran College. Why am I reminded of Corrie Tenboom’s The Hiding Place?


  2. Reblogged this on estherkochblog and commented:
    This is great way to look at mental health. It’s bringing up that idea of purpose again. Everyone gets stressed: that’s why everyone will suffer from poor mental health during their lifetime.

    Don’t get me wrong, these words do comes across as a teeny bit spiritual/airyfairy/Glastonburyhipster, and as interesting as I consider religion and spiritualism in just interested in our humanity. Anyone would undergo reflection so intense having gone through what he did!

    I like the idea of having a goal though, instead of striving merely to be ‘tensionless’ or less stressed/concerned. It’s soooo not that easy.



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