Purpose

While doing a quick round up of the eminent theorists from some major schools of thought in Psychology, Dr. Yousuf Raza told me why he thought Viktor E. Frankl’s psychoanalytical system left a “working” space for religion, not just a symbolic, sympathetic one, as you might find with his more popular counterpart, Carl Jung, and his brethren. I was familiar with the growing fascination among boys over Frankl but wasn’t able to read him before. Dr. Yousuf’s eloquent synopsis was something that came in handy.

He said that Frankl’s system was unique in a way that it would begin to treat a patient by stressing him more instead of trying to relieve him of it. And it worked as miraculously as the tenth century Chinese inoculation where they injected the patient with the same virus they wanted to protect him from to immunize him from future viral attacks of the sort. However, the way in which Viktor E. Frankl stressed his patients was surprising. His psychotherapeutic method began with insisting the patient to find a meaning in life, hence his best-seller book, Man’s Search For Meaning (Have you read this book yet? Please do. It’s enlightening!).

That brings me to my topic. At some point in our lives, we all wonder if there is any purpose to this meticulously elaborate drama of life. We ask ourselves, for example, where do we fit in the grand scheme of universe? What does it mean if we lie on top of major ecological chains as ultimate beneficiaries of all that universe has to offer – why exactly does this universe seem to be at our service? These questions have substance and they demand answers just as substantial. Everything that matters hangs delicately on these questions.

We, as human beings, have an innate tendency to find our answers – to know the reason of our creation, to shake sense of all that is out there in relation to our own self and its connection with the universe. We are sometimes referred to by the evolutionary scientists as the only intelligent design that inhabits the universe. Of several hundred million different species of Earth and counting, it’s really flattering to know this but it has its downside: we can’t just wake up in the morning and leave to make a living unless we have figured out what is it that we want to live for. Even a jackass is smarter than us in that it just grazes away when it has to and doesn’t really need to grapple with this conundrum.

During my discussions with people, i have discovered that the very term “purpose” induces great anxiety in most of them and they don’t want to pursue the discussion any further. While they might have their own reasons to do that, the reason I’ve been frankly cited at times is that purpose, in its own cold, calculative and mechanistic manner, tends to kill freedom. And its totally understandable. If you wake up in the dead of the night hungry as a wolf and aim for the fridge with a clear purpose in your head to eat something, you definitely won’t be much amused with a Santa Claus, should you find one, standing in his chariot blocking your way. In fact, you might as well walk right through him! That’s the case with purposes. They block a significant number of exciting possibilities from entering your life. But then, you have to ask yourself what’s more important after all? Finding your destiny or living ‘one hell of a life.’

The decision, ultimately, rests with you.

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