Why should we discuss self-transcendence? – part two

Great existential thinkers had proposed an interesting framework that could bring us the necessary release of our own limitations. Viktor Frankl (2008) writes about how a person can actualize their potential, not by getting rich or by focusing on materialistic success, but by being responsible. An individual can be responsible to humanity, to society, to himself or to God. The true meaning in life is thus to be found in the world rather than within man or his own psyche. Frankl names this as “the self-transcendence of human existence.”

Wong (2017) writes about Frankl’s self-transcendence stance and how it is composed of several factors: the defiant power of the human spirit, the capacity for freedom and responsibility, the primary motivation for self-transcendence and the power of the meaning-mindset. 

  • The defiant power of the human spirit is essentially an existential courage that enables us to take a defiant stand against a harsh fate and do what is morally right despite personal dangers. I have noticed that it is easy for me to fantasise about how courageous I would be in life-threatening situations but I have also come to realise that being courageous in those kinds of situations is more of an exception than a rule. 
  • Every person has the freedom and responsibility to choose their own pathway and life goals. Wong (2017) points out that man is not fully conditioned, man is self-determining. In spite of the predominant narrative of the western medical system which gives us the message of being a passive receiver of an illness, we can make an active stance and look through an alternative perspective: we are an active agent that has an influence on our own life.
  • The primary motivation for self-transcendence emphasises the responsible choice of doing the right thing in each situation (Wong, 2017). I know I struggle with this one, because my brain already has the neuron shortcuts that make my responses to triggering situations more automatic, it is that much harder to build new neuron pathways that can offer me an alternative response, one that is more applicable to my virtues. It is a hard change but it is far from impossible. Consistency is key.
  • The last factor that Wong (2017) emphasises is the power of the meaning-mindset which puts forward the proper use of intellect in order to do the right thing and live a virtuous life. Broadening our knowledge in the fields that study our human experience is important in the aspect of exposing our own blind spots, which can lead to some serious moral dilemmas. 

Gaining a small insight into the thoughts of great existential thinkers has given me a sense of optimism and hope, which is in contrast to the despair I felt, living through the lens of the modern, productive, success-driven world. I have been reminded again and again through life, through life’s challenges, that the most important, hearth-filling things are those that have nothing to do with gain, but have everything to do with other human beings or with our work that is contributing to the better future. As Marilyin Yalom wrote in the book that I have mentioned in the first part of this article, A matter of life and death: “I have come to the understanding that one stays alive not only for oneself, but also for others.”

Ana Zore, BA. pth.

Here you can read part one as well.

Sources:

Frankl, V.E. (2000). Man’s search for ultimate meaning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing.
Frankl, V.E. (2008). Man’s search for meaning. UK: Rider.
Frankl, V.E. (2014). Volja do smisla. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba. 
Frankl, V.E. (2015). Zdravnik in duša: Osnove logoterapije in bivanjske analize. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba.
Stein, J. (2013). Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation. Time article, Vol. 181, Issue 19. p26. 8p. Gained through: https://www.manasquanschools.org/cms/lib6/NJ01000635/Centricity/Domain/174/millennials_themememegeneration.pdf
Wong, P. (2017). Frankl’s Self-Transcendence Model and Virtue Ethics. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/frankls-self-transcendence-model-and-virtue-ethics/
Wong, P. (2014). Meaning-seeking, Self-Transcendence, and Well-Being. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/meaning-seeking-self-transcendence-and-well-being/

About me:

I work as a trainee psychotherapist under supervision, in Ljubljana-Slovenia. 

I primarily work through the frame of psychodynamic psychotherapy that was developed in Germany. The mentioned modality is based on psychoanalysis but additionally encompasses the humanistic approaches and includes body work or body techniques. I am also interested in the topics of existentialism, which has brought me to continue my education in logotherapy.

You can find more about me and my work at:

https://en.psihoterapija-anazore.com

Tested: lelked tükre

Kívánom, hogy mindenben olyan jó dolgod legyen, és olyan egészséges légy, amilyen jó dolga van a lelkednek.”

3János2

Erős mondat, ha kicsit jobban belegondolunk. Mégis, ugye, mutasson már valaki nekem egy embert, akinek mindig, minden körülmények között rendben van a lelke! Nincs benne épp egy csipet őrlődés, félelem, egy adag stressz, megfűszerezve egy kis aggodalommal, és csak úgy, érzésnyi megoldandó feladatokkal. Nyilván nincs ilyen. Viszont nem mindegy, ki, hogyan kezeli a lelkét. Mert a lélek igenis gyógyításra szorul: nem elég túljutni a gondokon, utána regenerálódni kell. Nem elég legyinteni, elengedni, meg kell érteni a működését. A lelkünket táplálni kell, különben jelez, hogy baj van: először piciben, aztán bizony nagyban is, fizikai tünetekkel szeretné a tudtunkra adni, hogy: „Hé, foglalkozz velem!”

Minden betegség lelki eredetű – szokták mondani. De nem mindegy, hogyan gyógyítod. Most egy picit, a saját példámon keresztül szeretnék segíteni azoknak, akik nem veszik elég komolyan az első, intő jeleket.  Ismeritek a szomatizáció szó jelentését? Lehet már meg is tapasztaltátok. Én középiskolás koromban szembesültem először a kifejezéssel, ami: olyan testi tünetekkel járó kórállapot, aminek hátterében nem áll szervi megbetegedés

A legboldogabb, legegészségesebb tininek kellett volna lennem, a – természetesen ezzel az időszakkal járó – felnőtté válás állapotának különböző fokozatai mellett. Én viszont hosszú évekre benne ragadtam, sőt, nem is találtam a kiutat egy olyan kapcsolatból, ami már senkinek sem volt jó, ami akkora súlyt rakott a lelkemre, hogy hiába regenerálódott néha, azokra a sebekre már jóval több kellett, mint egy kis kötözgetés. Először kicsiben kezdtem: egy kis migrén, egy kis hasfájás, fáradékonyság. Aztán úgy látszik, rákaptam az ízére. Visszatérő felfázás, hasi fájdalom. Édesanyám, miután saját elmondása szerint megunta, hogy másfél éven keresztül „mosta fel velem a szakrendelők padlóját” azt mondta, állj. Nekem semmi bajom nincs. Nekem egyszerűen ki kell jönnöm valamiből, ami nem tesz jót a lelkemnek. Én is éreztem, csak először rosszul próbálkoztam: menteni a menthetetlent, bármi áron. Mert megszoktam, ragaszkodtam egy állapothoz, amiben egyszerűen már nem voltam boldog (gyanítom, a másik fél sem). Akkor ott, nagyot sérült a lelkem és egy egész könyvet megérne, hogy jöttem ki belőle (nem kevés emberi és még sokkal több Isteni segítséggel). De kijöttem és láss csodát, elmúltak a panaszaim. 

Gondolnátok, hogy egy ilyen után, nyilván az ember tanul a hibáiból. Háh, de nem én! Ó, nem, én tökélyre fejlesztettem a szomatizáció képességét. Persze nem állandóan gyakoroltam, tartottam szünetet is néha, úgy illik. Csak most döbbentem: amikor kiderült, hogy a sok-sok tünet, valós szervi, fizikai betegséget okozott. Felborult az egyensúly és én nem foglalkoztam vele. Pedig való igaz: mindenben olyan jó dolgunk van, és olyan egészségesek vagyunk, amilyen jó dolga van a lelkünknek. 

Nagyon jó dolog sok baráti kapcsolatot ápolni, segíteni valakinek, akinek szüksége van rá, jó dolog sok feladattal foglalkozni, pörögni, de tudni kell megállni és feltenni magunknak a kérdést: én most boldog vagyok? A családomban, a párkapcsolatomban, a munkámban, a szabadidőm felhasználásában?

Mert ha ezek valamelyikére is „nem” a válasz, akkor a lelked gyógyításra szorul. Tedd meg, mielőtt a tested jelez!

Demeter Anna

Ackgnowleding our limitations – part one

Written by: Ana Zore, BA. pth.

I have just recently picked up a book that I bought some time ago, titled: “A matter of death and life”, by Irvin D. Yalom, an existential psychotherapist. It is an enriching and also hearth-breaking life story, which combines two perspectives. A perspective of a wife named Marilyn who was given a lethal diagnosis of  multiple myeloma and a perspective of her husband Irvin, who has been in love with her since they were teenagers. The book is far from a “light” read and what is also far from that is this attempt to write about my thoughts that have to do with my/our existence. 

Let us start at a collective lens and get more specific through some great existential thinkers. The all-consuming modern wold of capitalism and technology “dictates” us to focus on our personal agenda. It pushes us into a direction of self-perseverance and self-interests which gives a sense of accomplishment and validation from the outside world. It also plays on our primary, biological need for survival, survival of the fittest, and also survival of the richest, sexiest and the ones who have the most influence, especially on the internet. 

Being moderately young, a millennial, I too fall into a paradigm which was pointed out by Stein (2013) that narcissism is an increasing factor in today’s youth (compared to the older generations). In general we are more self-absorbed than the baby boomers and generation X in the same age period. So dealing with our own individual problems and focusing on our own “success” in this modern age, that is focused on gaining superficial accolades, is something that is collectively ingrained in our generation. Prioritizing these ideals could lead us to egotism, too high of expectations which lead to disappointment and finally to mental distress (Wong, 2014). 

It is also important to put forward the limited resources of our planet, that cannot sustain our ever growing hunger of materialistic culture. It is important that we acknowledge our limitations and the limitations of our social context which can only give us so much and at the end leave us feeling unfulfilled.

So why even bother looking for something else, something that exceeds our own personal bubble? Why even bother pursuing getting to know ourselves, our real selves not our personas, why even bother postulating heavy and scary questions about our existence, if the all-consuming world already demands so much of us?

Sources:

Frankl, V.E. (2000). Man’s search for ultimate meaning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing.
Frankl, V.E. (2008). Man’s search for meaning. UK: Rider.
Frankl, V.E. (2014). Volja do smisla. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba. 
Frankl, V.E. (2015). Zdravnik in duša: Osnove logoterapije in bivanjske analize. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba.
Stein, J. (2013). Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation. Time article, Vol. 181, Issue 19. p26. 8p. Gained through: https://www.manasquanschools.org/cms/lib6/NJ01000635/Centricity/Domain/174/millennials_themememegeneration.pdf
Wong, P. (2017). Frankl’s Self-Transcendence Model and Virtue Ethics. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/frankls-self-transcendence-model-and-virtue-ethics/
Wong, P. (2014). Meaning-seeking, Self-Transcendence, and Well-Being. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/meaning-seeking-self-transcendence-and-well-being/

About me:

I work as a trainee psychotherapist under supervision, in Ljubljana-Slovenia. 

I primarily work through the frame of psychodynamic psychotherapy that was developed in Germany. The mentioned modality is based on psychoanalysis but additionally encompasses the humanistic approaches and includes body work or body techniques. I am also interested in the topics of existentialism, which has brought me to continue my education in logotherapy.

You can find more about me and my work at:

https://en.psihoterapija-anazore.com