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.