Life is Not to B be Thrown Away
By Dr. Ashoke Priyadarshana
World Suicide Prevention Day fell on 10 September and there is no shortage of discussions on this topic on that date. Suicide prevention is not a novel topic to be discussed for us as Sri Lankans; yet, the issue is not properly addressed, it seems. Although, it is said that the suicidal rate in the country has dropped down to a certain extent in comparison to the past, there are many cases reported frequently. “Life does not owe you happiness or fulfilment’’, said Viktor Frankl, an existential psychologist and a neurologist who was brutally tortured in Hitler’s concentration camp during 1940’s.
Frankl later introduced a psychological therapy known as ‘Logo therapy’ which stressed the importance of pursuing ‘meaningfulness’ in life instead of searching for power or desire. According to him, he says “striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in life’’. Philosophical Frankl’s view seems to be rather philosophical; but it has indeed a therapeutic value too. Frankl once said, everything can be taken from a man’s life except his ‘freedom of choice’. Even in front of the worst conditions, one has the freedom of choice according to Frankl.
By and large, existential psychologists mention that ‘suffering’ is a part of life, whereas death, isolation as well as meaninglessness are inevitable in human life. Among these ‘givens’ in life, one has to strive to find the meaning of life. According to Frankl’s words, he says that it is not all about what you expect from life; but what life expects from you. In other words, one of the most important things in life is what you do to the world in this short span of life. Certain situations in life make us depressed and distressed.
The incapability of dealing with such situations would drive the person to choose between committing suicide. Why do people react in different ways before the same situation? It is because of the choice they make. In Frankl’s explanation, he says that when the situation cannot be changed, it is needed to change the attitude. Attitude ought to be changed in a more meaningful way. Life has a meaning which everyone has to find out. Life is not all about fighting hard from birth to death; but, you have a universal task to be performed. Unfortunately, many of us die without finding the meaning of life. The meaning of life varies from person to person. How Mahatma Gandhi found the meaning of life was different from Martin Luther King. Likewise, let us find the meaning of our life instead of wasting or ending our lives in vain.