When I was in high-school, I had a friend that wanted to be a professional football player. A decade later, he’s playing professionally and is sponsored by the Herculean brand that is Nike
Guess what? Fuck that guy!
For most of us, that path of knowing from very early on is rare. For most of us, it’s a lifelong, painstaking journey to become who we are.
When people ask the question “what is my purpose?” what they’re really asking is “how should I spend my time?”
Freud argued that humans chief driver is pleasure. If you look around, it becomes obvious why Freud came to this bold conclusion.
Most people are:
a) on a persistent pursuit of the next high
b) desperately trying to cling to their current high
c) trying to numb pain through pleasure
Contrast Freud with Frankl's Logotherapy, who argued that humans chief driver is purpose.
Frankl takes it a step further and says that when a human can’t find purpose — they distract themselves with pleasure.
I see this play out in my life over and over again whenever I lose sight of where I’m going. Hedonistic pursuits take over: sex, drugs, drink, fine food. Now, there's nothing wrong with pleasure. The problem arises when it's not intentional - driven by your need for instant gratification or avoidance of pain.
So what is the nebulous concept of purpose?
According to Frankl, it's pretty simple:
a) have a project you enjoy working on
b) have an optimistic perspective on your suffering; see the light at the end of tunnel
c) have a community to share your struggles & successes with
A smart person might argue that logotherapy is just a hedge against nihilism. And it is.
But only you decide what you ascribe meaning to in your life.
As Zarathustra spoke: Gott ist tott.
God is dead.
Who are you? What is your purpose?
If you are living out those questions, you're on the right path.
Yr Logotherapist friend,
Stefan “Stefathustra” Bourn