Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is one of my favorite books, one that has helped me through the tough times in my life. I’ve mentioned it here several times including the post below. I thought I’d rerun this post from several years ago as it fits very well with the theme from my current show at the Principle Gallery, Part of the Pattern, which is that we live in a universe that is vast and chaotic, often making our existence seem small and meaningless. Yet, if we can see how we fit into the underlying pattern that lays within the chaos, can find our purpose, our why, we can live a life of meaning.
I urge you to read the book. You can even listen to it freely on YouTube. One of the first installments is at the bottom to give you a taste.
Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity.
The words of Viktor Frankl, the WW II concentration camp survivor who went on to greater fame as a psychotherapist and author, seemed to ring true for this square painting after I finished it. I saw the Red Tree here as one that finally saw its uniqueness in the world, sensing in the moment that with this individuality there came a mission that must be carried out.
A reason for being.
I think that’s something we have all desired in our lives. I know it was something I have longed for throughout my life and often found lacking at earlier stages. I remember reading Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning, at a point when I felt adrift in the world. I read how the inmates of the concentration camp who survived often had a reason that they consciously grasped in order to continue their struggle to live. It could be something as simple as seeing the ones they loved again or finishing a task they had set for themself. Anything to give them a sense of future. Those who lost their faith in a future lost their will to live and usually perished.
At the time when I read this, I understood the words but didn’t fully comprehend the concept. I felt little meaning in my life and didn’t see one near at hand. It wasn’t until years later when I finally found what I do now that I began to understand Frankl’s words and saw that I had purpose in this world as a husband, an artist and a person of feeling.
We are all unique beings. We all have unique missions. The trick is in recognizing our individuality and trusting that it will carry us forward into a future