Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Of The

One of the things I want to be clear about is this: there is a difference between being fucked and mental illness. The former is about choice the later isn't. Don't forget it.

In his book, Man's Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl says this about choice:

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's own way.

And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate."


Must the example always be the extremest, the most horrific to get your attention? Doesn't your misery pale in comparison to Frankl's, who lost his young wife to the camps?

It is easy to dismiss your own pain when you compare it others. It is easy to belittle your suffering because it was not the extremest in memory. It would be easy, but incredibly misguided. It is part of what keeps the fucked fucked.

I strongly encourage a slow reading and rereading of Frankl's book. At its core it asks if they, the victims of Nazi genocide, were worthy of their sufferings, could those sufferings be held with dignity and to serve a higher purpose or meaning. If you are fucked, stuck, lost in a maelstrom of your own suffering stop and ask if you are worthy of it. The answer can be humbling.

Frankl was stuck in a concentration camp for years, but he was free because he chose to be.

Do not expect to avoid tragedy, or loss, or the end of love, or the trailing off of health. It is human to bear these events. No, what matters is the choice you make, from day to day, moment to moment about how you will carry your losses, how you will live with what befalls everyman. I love Frankl's phrase "the plaything of circumstance." It denotes a ball being batted about, a life without ballast, without feet on the ground.

To choose can be painful. One thing is given primacy over another. There are sacrifices. One of the reasons I think so many of us are fucked is we are unable to sacrifice, to choose this over that in order to be free.

Freedom is hard. Wallowing is easy. One is based on reality. The other is based on wishful thinking.

To get unfucked you have to choose it.

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