Meaning of life today and its spirituality (II)

In the previous installment I ended with a question: how to build a life project today and what spirituality would give it meaning?

Existentialist literature problematized us with the issue by asking us whether or not life is worth living, an issue that is central to philosophy. Does our existence have any meaning? Many Greek philosophers spent a large part of their lives trying to answer this question. In the same way, Buddha like Lao Tzu and Confucius, from the Eastern world, also wondered about the same thing. Arthur Schopenhauer, in his somewhat pessimistic view of him, affirmed that existence is suffering, “if suffering is not the authentic and true end of life, then our existence is the most stupid thing that can be thought of.”[1] From a different perspective, Ignace Lepp in the prologue of his work Risks and daring of existing, points out to us “Living with true authenticity means for us accepting the human condition with its demand for a creative improvement; not passively resign, but actively accept”.[2]

Definitely that the meaning of life is an integral part of the history of the human being. It is very difficult to live life without questioning its value, its meaning and meaning.

In psychology, this has also been and continues to be a topic of great importance and relevance. For Viktor Frankl, the meaning of life is defined and organized in relation to a certain purpose and the responsibility to achieve it. His work inspired from the worst of conditions, imprisoned in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany[3], is a proposal for your search. Regarding this, he said: “Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of mental independence, even in the most terrible circumstances of psychic and physical stress.” “Man is not completely conditioned and determined; rather, he decides whether he gives in to circumstances or confronts them. In other words, man determines himself, he does not limit himself to exist, but decides how his existence will be, what he will become in the next minute. According to him, “the search for the meaning of his life constitutes a primary force, not a secondary rationalization of his instinctive impulses.” And it is that “precisely that inner freedom, which no one can take away, gives intention and meaning to life.”[4] It was his real and personal experience. Such an assertion takes on special relevance with the words of Nietzsche when he said: “Whoever has something to live for, he is capable of enduring any how”.

What it is about, then, is to identify the purpose and build or assume a spirituality that provides support or a base of support. Don’t forget that when talking about spirituality we were referring to the set of principles and attitudes that make up the quality of a person or a group. Spirituality, in this sense, comes to us from within as an internal force that drives us to action, giving a certain meaning to our lives. That is, it gives it meaning. This may or may not be religious in nature.

Throughout our lives as human beings we have always turned our attention and our gaze towards the future. We envision a different life as a person and as a group. Utopia guides us, generates ways of understanding the world and acting in the world. They revolutionize the present as a form of denial of what prevents us from being and reaching the essence of who we are. For no other reason, in a world that reifies us, that has turned us into “things”, that manipulates our conscience and our ways of thinking and acting, that promotes in us a kind of personal and social anomie, and that, for In addition, it generates the sensation of feeling incapable of facing and changing this reality, what Seligman calls, learned helplessness or hopelessness, we then take refuge in a kind of personal-collective esotericism, as a form of refuge.

The absence of social projects committed to the collective well-being, at the same time as the development of a corrupt and patronizing political culture, have contributed to the development of individualistic attitudes and behaviors that reinforce the denial of our essence as social beings.

It is necessary to build new options and possibilities that make the dormant internal motivations and convictions resurface in each one of us that give meaning to our lives, directing them towards new possibilities. It is precisely the content that Marcos Villamán gives us in his extraordinary work “Disrupting the logic, pushing the limits: democracy and equity”[5], in which he invites us to “the need to recover the ethical dimension as a condition for the possibility of successfully facing the great current problems”. Adding later: “for this questioning to make sense, there must also be a feeling and conviction that the situation can be transformed by the action of human beings towards forms of coexistence that are considered more humane and that constitute shared goals, in horizons, in utopias”.

What possibilities, what utopias? Perhaps it is necessary to dream and think of a new world, in a new society where collective well-being prevails; where new ways of relating are forged and promoted, where a new awareness of being in relation to oneself, others and the environment is developed; where the resources available from the governments are used for the development of social policies that make a different life possible, severely penalizing those who, in their actions, violate the fundamental principles of collective life. Spaces for education and training are lacking in schools, institutes and universities, where on a day-to-day basis, society and the world in which we want to live guided by an ethic of life are foreshadowed.

Recovering utopia is promoting the culture of service and servanthood, it is the promotion of good words and good actions in family, community and social life, it is banishing once and for all clientelism and nepotism in state structures and governments, is to broaden the awareness that the planet we live on is our common home, as Pope Francis stated very well in his encyclical letter Laudato SI’; is to build bridges of solidarity and not walls of exclusion.

Recovering utopia and building spiritualities that encourage us to speak well and live well, is to have clean and safe schools, sanitized from partisan political interests outside of it, with a highly trained, motivated and committed teacher so that all boys, girls and adolescents, like the adults who come to her, learn: learn to know, learn to learn, learn to live together and learn to be, that is, to build a new consciousness as a personal and social being.

Recovering utopia involves “conversion towards an ethically based life, capable of explicitly taking charge of the ethical values ​​that support it, willing to confront them with tolerance and firmness, and capable of permanent transformation based on criteria of better conditions.” for the defense and care of life. A human being animated by Hope and the utopian illusion that life can be built by human beings themselves”.[6]

For this, it is essential to recover our “inner freedom, which no one can take away” and which “gives intention and meaning to life”.[7]

A life with meaning, it could be said, is one that is structured on something higher than ourselves, and what, the higher that something is, of course, the more meaning our existence will have.

[1] Shopenhauer, A. (2018). Parables and aphorisms. Editorial Alliance. Spain.

[2] Lepp, I. (1967). Risks and daring of existing. FAX Editions. Madrid. Spain.

[3] Auschwix, Dachau and other concentration camps.

[4] Frankl, V. (2015) Man’s search for meaning. Herder Editorial, SL Barcelona. 3rd. Edition, 12th printing, 2020.

[5] Villaman, M. (2003). Disrupting the logic, pushing the limits: democracy and equity. Technological Institute of Santo Domingo. Dominican Republic.

[6] Villamán, M. Work cited.

[7] Frankl, V. Work Cited

Meaning of life today and its spirituality (II)