Taking up the challenge

In the May 31 post, “Believe honest people” I wrote: “Responsibility, according to Viktor Frankl is response-ability…responding to the reality in front of you. And in order to respond to reality you have to see that reality…with honesty and integrity…”

Logotherapy is based on a certain world-view of looking stark reality in the face and then taking up the challenge it presents. This perspective has a profound effect on the direction of therapy. We don’t put blinders on but neither are we helpless in the face of it. We see the situation we’re presented with as an invitation and an awesome responsibility. This perspective on life makes logotherapy very optimistic. Consider the case of a client who was abused as a child. While she could possibly say, “I am no good; my life is ruined” she might instead say “My past has given me my mission to help others in that position…”

Taking up the challenge is not only a perspective of personal reality. It determines how we see world events. How then should we take up the challenge of the world’s attack on Israel? If we have conscience, trust in the goodness of mankind and trust in the positive forward thrust of history in spite of setbacks, we will see it as an invitation to disseminate truth and goodness. One example of someone who has taken up the challenge is Kyle-Anne Shiver in The American Thinker.

I’d like to share some selected comments on this topic from Dr. Teria Shantall, head of the logotherapy training course in Israel and South Africa, which I’ve collected over the course of the past year.

Teria reminded us: “Right now in our present situation in Israel we’ve been given a commission as Jews to show what God has invested in us. We can overcome every single lie and assault and problem…What’s the meaning of suffering, and all the injustice, the propaganda warfare that’s going on? Isn’t it an anguish to you? To see how facts are distorted or how they’re portrayed in a way that Israel turns out to be the aggressor? It’s really a battle for the minds of men…And every argument that is raised against you, you shall show to be in the wrong. Oh, wow, to come to such a point of clarity! To speak forth with such clarity. There are those in the world ready to listen, you know? They’re waiting for this kind of voice to come from us.”

“Where are we right now? In the face of an enemy… that denies our right to existence. But – Isn’t it the challenge that that should make us even clearer, even more courageous, even more defiant to be who we are. – A light to the nations…What are the challenges that we are facing now, if it’s not that we are to rise to our full moral stature? Because that is the light that we have to give to the world. How we act now in a position of strength, not weakness. How we can stand, how clear we are on the principles that are the foundation of our faith. How humane also we are, and how as a community we’ve become more and more together…”

“Logotherapy is so different from other therapies in this that we are confrontational. We question. We find contradictions. We really awaken the client to a contrary way of thinking about things, having to answer questions as to why they are rendering themselves victims of circumstances and complaining and saying ‘I can’t do it. I’m worth nothing.’ It’s actually becoming a victim of all of the negative influences on this little child’s mind by contrary experiences of hurtful experiences. And these are the kind of experiences that lodges in the mind to say ‘There is no God’ or ‘There is no meaning’ or ‘I am not worth anything’ and fall into the clutches of emotional problems and psychological hang-ups…”

“Like Frankl calls the therapy, a therapy of tragic optimism. Because in the face of death, pain and suffering and guilt we are challenged – to overcome it. Actually at the very essence of our commission is and teaches, is to overcome evil with good. – First in ourselves – to work against any apathy, indifference, irritability, hang-ups, and then as we come into our full stature to go and combat suffering in the world. Isn’t that so?” (submitted by Batya)

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