The Missing Ingredient

Frankl didn’t intend for logotherapy to stand on its own but to supplement other theories much the same way that the spirit cannot stand on its own without the physical body, the intellect or the emotions. The spirit is not one more piece of a person but the part that ties it all together.

We can be aware of our emotions, but what are our emotions telling us? Adopting a different perspective might be helpful but which perspective is more meaningful? The here-and-now moment is a place of connection but what does it mean that I am here?

Logotherapy pays attention to one element that ties all aspects of the person and all the dimensions of awareness together: meaning.

If you’re going to accomplish anything in the world you must feel empowered. Yet Frankl replaced Alfred Adler’s “Will to Power” with “Will to Meaning” as the primary motivating force. Power cannot be the highest goal for its own sake. If it is, this will not create a moral society. It will not bring people to access their deepest human capacities and their highest spiritual potential.

In contrast when we put the spotlight on accessing the will to meaning, empowerment becomes a means to the end of finding meaning, not an end to itself. Furthermore when meaning is the goal it becomes clear that power comes not from within you but from beyond you. Since the advent of Adlerian psychology many theories have sprouted. Looking at them discerningly we can see whether or not their proponents are infusing their approach with the missing ingredient of meaning or whether the aim is an egocentric seeking of power for its own sake. Only the former can be truly healing and promote a compassionate and responsible society.

The same applies to the Will to Pleasure. Is this Freudian assumption being employed as a means to an end or is it an end to itself?

Similarly with any of the hundreds of theories prevalent in the world today. The closer we come to understanding human functioning the more informed we will be. Logotherapy has the role of making sure no one loses sight of the main point.

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