Constantly reaching out for meanings to fulfill

Frankl wrote that existence falters unless man has a strong ideal to hold onto. 

He coined the term existential vacuum, meaning, the psychological condition in which we doubt that life has any meaning and we become trapped in feelings of aimlessness, emptiness, loss of interest and lack of initiative. 

Who hasn’t been there before? 

Human beings, after all, are constantly reaching out for meanings to fulfill. Our hearts are restless unless we have found and fulfilled it. It’s our modus operandi as a species. 

And so, even if our language feels too small to contain those feelings at the time, we still know, intuitively, that something needs to change. Otherwise we might suffocate under the weight of our own perceived meaninglessness. 

Frankl’s theory suggested that the existential vacuum phenomenon was the product of industrialization. That at the turn of the century, when conformity and technology and mass production replaced instinct and tradition and craftsmanship, people became externally direct toward what they ought to do. 

They assumed meaning was given arbitrarily, not created responsibility.’

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

We are the sole arbiters of meaning in our lives. It’s not something we search and find, it’s something we create and preserve. 

And so, when the existential vacuum starts to suck the life force right out of us, we have to respond quickly and intelligently. 

Because into every void rushes something. And we’re either going to fill that hole with something that tranquilizes us, or something that galvanizes us. 

Personally, I like to be strategic about confronting the void. Aggressive pondering, as a friend of mine likes to say. Being intentional about meeting my meaning needs. 

Even if I have create my own software app for doing so. 


How do you handle your existential vacuums?


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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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