Thursday, February 24, 2005

Too Hard

My good friend Steve tells me I'm too hard on myself.  Maybe he's right.  But I live within my own skin and I know what's going on.  If I don't express those experiences in a way that's convincing to others, then I have a problem.  If you haven't already surmized, this blog is intended to be a glimpse into my inner world.  If that is too narcissistic for your taste, farewell and godspeed.

I hope some of what I write here has a more universal value and appeal.  To that end, I'm excited to report that I found the passage in Man's Search for Meaning that I remember having such a profound impact on me the last time I read the book.  The idea had stuck firmly to my consciousness, but when I had tried to find that passage again, I couldn't.  Rediscovering it though, was exciting. 

"To draw an analogy, a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into a chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter if the suffering is great or little. Therefore the size of human suffering is absolutely relative."  -Viktor E. Frankl

Only a survivor of a concentration camp who is also a physician and a philospher could make such a statement and present it as an eternal truth.  Frankl is saying that you and I don't have to have experienced the horrors of Auschwitz in order to feel pain, and for that pain to be real, authentic and valid.  It is Buddhist-like in its simplicity and echoes Buddha's noble truth: Life is difficult; and also the transcendant evolution of that realization, that once we accept that life is difficult, it ceases to be so.

1 comment:

stwill61 said...

This is your good friend, Steve.  Howdy!

Your blog expresses your experiences quite well, Michael.  And some (much) of what you write has value to me, at least -- I can't speak for the universe.

Blogs are a curious form of expression.  I'm only familiar with a few, but they differ vastly from one another.

Mine tends to be a collection of essays -- though I throw in some self-examination, and some ordinary day-to-day things at times.  My essays don't examine my "self" so much as topics which I find important.

Lucas's blog (the one he lets people see) is very day-to-day conversational.  In order to read it and "get" it, or at least get the most out of it, you have to know Lucas -- how he talks, how he smirks, how he deadpans.  And it helps if you know what's going on in his life, because he won't really explain it.  And, perhaps most characteristic, his blog is humorous.

Yours portrays you at your most introspective, and at your most strident.  Not that there's anything wrong with that!  :-)

With your blog, I find out things about you which I don't learn in our e-mails.  And that's great.  It sometimes gets me wondering just how much turmoil you're going through even when you appear to be having fun.

When I say "You're too hard on yourself" I mean two basic things:  First, you deserve to be happier than you appear to be.   Second, you seem to believe that other people are thinking worse of you than (I believe) they are.

Nevertheless, if my comment caused you to take offense, or feel I did not appreciate the function of your blog, I apologize.

I enjoy this blog.  And I love that this tool helps me know you better, and helps you influence my thinking through the expression of your thoughts.

Be well.