After finishing Ikigai on Friday, I came across this article from The Atlantic today.
"In September 1942, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna, was arrested and transported to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents. Three years later, when his camp was liberated, most of his family, including his pregnant wife, had perished -- but he, prisoner number 119104, had lived. In his bestselling 1946 book, Man's Search for Meaning, which he wrote in nine days about his experiences in the camps, Frankl concluded that the difference between those who had lived and those who had died came down to one thing: Meaning, an insight he came to early in life. When he was a high school student, one of his science teachers declared to the class, "Life is nothing more than a combustion process, a process of oxidation." Frankl jumped out of his chair and responded, "Sir, if this is so, then what can be the meaning of life?""
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Sorry, but I don't buy it.
>"Frankl concluded that the difference between those who had lived and those who had died came down to one thing: Meaning"
Well, he was just fucking lucky. It's a matter of randomness and, just because of that, he lived. Sure, maybe the posture in life would help to live longer (having hope is scientifically comproved to somewhat extend one's life if seriously sick, like cancer), but that wouldn't mean anything if you were among the ones picked to die in that day. Or in the next. Or in the next.
Real things you can do to live happier? Start with what is scientifically comproved and expand from that. This serie of posts on Less Wrong is just incredible: The Science of Winning at Life. You can start with this post: How to be Happy
I assume you haven't read the book from this response. Yes - that is an EXTREMELY simplified and overstated position. But after reading Man's Search for Meaning and spending a lot of time with holocaust survivors, there's a lot of truth to it. The decisions of which people to kill often came down to who had become too weak to work. Frankl argues, and I agree, that a huge portion of being able to push through adversity is mental/emotional, not just physical. Sure, it was pure luck that the Germans lost the war and that he was in a camp that lasted until it happened, but his point is that his mentality is a huge part of what kept him there.
It's a quick read and pretty impactful. I'd recommend it.
All right, Zach, I'll give this book a shot.
You seem to be a smart guy, and if you're recommending it, it probably has something valuable. By the way, I liked your site, keep writing! (nice theme too).
It is missing an about page!
Likewise. The Science of Winning at Life post is blowing my mind and I'm having trouble not clicking every link and ending up with hundreds of open tabs. Appreciate the tip.
And very right about the About page. I just put the blog up a couple weeks ago to have somewhere to dump my thoughts (mainly for myself), but it probably makes sense to put a little bit more about myself. Thanks for checking it out.