When I got a low prelim grade in our subject Theories of Personality, I was determined to make up for it. Our professor gave us a chance at extra credit by giving a report to the class and Paula and I chose to do one together on Viktor Frankl.
You know how they say that you don’t find love, love finds you? I didn’t think this report would lead me to one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I have fallen so unexpectedly in love with the Frankl book I checked out from the library <3
I’m not much for reading nonfiction, but this? Damn! I couldn’t put it down. I read it everywhere: on a bus, in the bathroom, in a bar… In fact, it’s been due at the library for at least four days, but I don’t want to return it yet, it’s so good.
Frankl was a Holocaust survivor, whose experience in concentration camps molded his psychological theory that man’s life is directed towards finding meaning. This theory is called logotherapy, from the Greek logos or “meaning”.
He states that one can find meaning in life by the following:
1. Creativity: by the act of producing something, e.g. painting, writing
2. Experience: by experiencing beauty or goodness, or by fully experiencing another human being by loving him
Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him.
3. Attitude: by having a positive outlook on unavoidable suffering
For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement.
What I love about this theory of personality is how it states that man, despite his circumstances, always has a choice: the freedom of choosing the attitude to take towards the present conditions, unpleasant and unchangeable though they may be.
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, to choose one’s own way.
Honestly, I felt like such an ultranerd-geek-dweeb when I reported, because I really love the topic! I was so friggin’ enthusiastic and bubbly in front of the class, trying to get them as excited as I was about Frankl.
So maybe that low prelim grade was a blessing in disguise, because it led me to find this excellent book. The only problem now is that I have to return it and find a copy of my own, because every day it’s due at the library is costing me five pesos.