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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Logotherapy, Bokononism, and Other Notions

On July 6th, my colleague, Don Gibbons, published a fascinating post on his site (  He alluded to the work of Viktor Frankl, which ultimately gave rise to the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy,” or logotherapy.  In a nutshell, where Freud felt that we are governed by the need to seek pleasure, and Adler believed we seek power, Frankl believed the most powerful motivating force in humans is the need to find meaning in life. 

This notion, in turn, somehow reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Cat’s Cradle.  Here is the passage of note (attributed to Bokonon, founder of Bokononism):

Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder, "Why, why, why?"
Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.

But do we ever really understand?  Is not our quest to "understand" simply a part of our quest for "meaning" in life?  Perhaps art, once again, imitates life here.  I also suspect we can find many other areas in which art, philosophy (including religion), and psychology overlap.  More anon!