power of meaning (book review)


meaning

I have always believed that meaning is the route to the happiness we all seek. In my own life I continue to try and find this in the simple day-to-day but also in my work as a therapist. I loved Frankl and it was nice to be reminded of him again. It also reminded me of Sisyphus, Camus and the search for meaning amidst the meaninglessness of existence. We have all our rocks but what I found most helpful was the way in which the author talked about Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling, Transcendence, Growth and Cultures of Meaning; breaking it down to digestible and accessible categories and explaining what she meant in each of them. As I started, I’ll end by saying that this book served as a reminder of all the things I already know but occasionally forget and if you need a gentle nudge in the direction of what really matters, I suggest you get yourself a copy of this fine book.

Thanks Net Galley for the opportunity to review before the published date.

abandon all hope


abandon-hope-doormat

Scratch the surface of our hope-fixated culture and you discover The Shawshank Redemption lied to us: sometimes, giving up hope sets you free. John Ptacek, a US author, writes of finding meaning through hopelessness after his wife’s terminal cancer diagnosis: “Time spent hoping for happier days is time spent turning away from life.” Derrick Jensen, an environmental campaigner, believes hope makes activism less effective since it involves placing faith in someone or something else to make things better, instead of doing what’s needed yourself: “A wonderful thing happens when you give up on hope, which is that you realise you never needed it in the first place… you become very dangerous indeed to those in power.” The Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön proposes a new fridge magnet: “Abandon hope”. It sounds like a grim joke. After all, if you don’t have hope, what’s left? I suspect she’d answer: reality. In other words, everything.

oliver.burkeman@theguardian.com