The integration of the idea of death saves us; rather than sentence us to existences of terror or bleak pessimism, it acts as a catalyst to plunge us into more authentic life modes, and it enhances our pleasure in the living of life.” (Existential Psychotherapy, Irvin Yalom). From phenomenology it borrows the idea that the individual’s immediate experience and personal grasp of reality is primary and the appropriate subject of concern. Becoming who you are is not a guarantee but a difficult and arduous task requiring self-knowledge, commitment and courage – and is thus a purpose or meaning worthy and sturdy enough to support one’s life. While death is the most obvious of the ultimate concerns, freedom is perhaps the least obvious.
From humanistic psychology, existential psychotherapy borrows the idea that the individual, far from being a plaything of deterministic forces, has the capacity to change and direct their life, and fulfill the innate human desire to live fully and realize one’s highest potentials.
― (1973a: The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, New York (Holt, Rinehart and Winston) 1973, p.
The fact that becoming an individual entails isolation explains why many people cower from the task of becoming an individual, preferring instead to alleviate their feelings of loneliness via conformity and immersion in the masses. No matter what you're going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you'll find the positive side of things. that when one ignores their “constitutionally suggested vocation”, and thus lives inauthentically, it is possible to find one’s way back to an authentic existence through feelings of guilt. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is …
In this video we’ll explore 4 of these ultimate concerns: death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness, as well as insights which can limit the suffering such concerns can cause. View the list There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. In his book Existential Psychotherapy, Irvin Yalom nicely summarized the benefits of becoming more closely acquainted with one’s fear of death: “A denial of death at any level is a denial of one’s basic nature and begets an increasingly pervasive restriction of awareness and experience. All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. “One who fails to live as fully as one can, experiences a deep, powerful feeling which I refer to here as “existential guilt.”…existential guilt is a positive constructive force, a guide calling oneself back to oneself.” (Existential Psychotherapy, Irvin Yalom). “He who would teach men to die would teach them to live.” (Montaigne, Essays).
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