SUNDAY NEUROSIS

 Often we suffer from, what Viktor Frankl calls, ‘existential vacuum’. In this situation, one is haunted by the experience of inner emptiness. He doesn’t know what he has to do, or what he ought to do, or what he wishes to do. He does what other people wish him to do, or what other people do. Existential vacuum causes boredom. Boredom brings more problems than distress. More the free time we have, the more we feel bored. What is the optimum free time? It is subjective. Nothing is subjective unless there is objective. Where there is objective, there is meaning. In this context, Frankl talks about ‘Sunday Neurosis’. On Sundays, for some, there is ‘no rush of the busy week’, and that causes existential vacuum. In search of power one becomes weak. During existential vacuum, one often asks the most pertinent questions – What the meaning of life is? The meaning of life is subjective. It differs from person to person, time to time. In other words, the best move in a game of chess depends upon the particular move an opponent thrusts upon you. Chasing an abstract meaning of life is futile. Meaning of life is not a question. Man has to search his meaning of life responsibly. It is he who is responsible for his judgments. It is he who is responsible for his conscience. It is for you to decide if your decision is based on moral exhortation or logical reasoning. About ‘logotherapy’, writes Frankl, “A painter tries to convey to us a picture of the world as he sees it; an ophthalmologist tries to enable us to see the world as it really is. The logotherapist’s role consists of widening and broadening the visual field of the patient so that the whole spectrumof potential meaning becomes conscious and visible to him.” Meaning of life changes, yet nor ceases. Often, suffering helps in our search for meaning; suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning. This is not to suggest that suffering is necessary to find meaning. There is a saying that the burden of unhappiness is increased by unhappiness about being unhappy. It is also true that the unavoidability of suffering can’t be ruled out. Another question Frankl asks – When you have lost everything, does life has any meaning? Then he says, “Has all this suffering, this dying around us, a meaning? For, if not, then ultimately there is no meaning to survival; for a life whose meaning depends upon such a happenstance – as whether one escapes or not – ultimately would not be worth living at all.”

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