Viktor Frankl: When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure

 

When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.

– Viktor Frankl

There is nothing wrong with pleasure. It’s an important part of a rich life and can also be a vital part of healing – both physical and emotional.

At the same time, if we seek pleasure in order to distract ourselves, it may be good to notice and explore what’s behind it. What do I try to distract myself from? What are the uncomfortable sensations? What are the uncomfortable thoughts (beliefs, identifications) connected with these?

And can I find more meaning in my life? What’s meaningful to me? How can I bring it into life a little more? Some of these things may be apparently small and yet important for us.

I agree with Victor Frankl in that when we have a life we experience as rich and meaningful, we don’t need so much to distract ourselves with pleasure. And yet, there are a few more things going on here.

One is that pleasure is an important part of a rich human life.

Another is what we distract ourselves from, which is good to explore in itself.

And yet another is that when we have (develop, nurture) a life we experience as meaningful, we don’t need to distract ourselves with pleasure. We enjoy pleasure and we have less need to compulsively seek pleasure in order to distract ourselves from discomfort, including the discomfort of a less meaningful life.

Victor Frankl: When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves

 

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

– Victor Frankl

When I was fourteen or fifteen, I wanted to learn about psychology. Through grace, the first books I found — on my mother’s bookshelf – was Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. I was very fortunate that he was my first formal introduction to psychology.