In the preface to my edition of Man’s Search for Meaning, Gordon W Allport tells us that Viktor Frankl used to ask his psychotherapy clients what it was that stopped them from committing suicide.
It’s a question that existential philosopher and bon vivant Albert Camus considered the only serious question in philosophy. Continue reading The Only Serious Question of Philosophy The lesson from history is that humans are infinitely adaptable, and the most adaptable are those who are able to see the potential for growth among abject suffering.
In 1973, the anthropologist Clifford Geertz wrote something wise:
“We are, in sum, incomplete or unfinished animals who complete ourselves through culture – and not through culture in general but through particular forms of it.”
The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays, 1973
I love this idea: it’s what makes life so exciting and so terrible. We are born, not as blank slates, but certainly unfinished. Our parents and carers start our finishing, but as adults we, in collusion with our society, continue the process. Continue reading Unfinished Animals: A Novel