Dr. Viktor Frankl says that we can find meaning in our suffering. I think that is really insensitive to those who are oppressed. It is insensitive to say to the oppressed: “Oh, you are a victim of racism. Rise above it by finding meaning.” What do you think?
Dr. Frankl never meant to imply that we should seek to be oppressed (or ignore the oppression) so that we can find meaning in our suffering. You seem to be dichotomizing finding meaning and seeking justice, as if we can do only one or the other. We must remember that Dr. Frankl was in concentration camps during World War II. He certainly did not imply that this was good for him so that he could find meaning in his suffering. Instead, we need to right the wrongs of injustice by practicing the moral virtue of justice and, as the same time, find meaning in our suffering. These two (seeking justice and finding meaning in suffering) are teammates, not opponents.
Editor’s Note: Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor. He was the founder of logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy which describes a search for a life meaning as the central human motivational force. Dr. Frankl published 39 books including his best-selling autobiographical Man’s Search for Meaning, based on his experiences in various Nazi concentration camps.
How can you create a forgiving community for oppressed people? Don’t you first have to validate the injustices by solving them? Forgiveness without such validity seems weak.
One can validate oppression by acknowledging it and calling it what it is: unfair. One can own one’s legitimate anger over the oppression. Yet, if one waits to actually solve the injustice before forgiving, then those who are oppressing win twice: once with original and ongoing oppression and second by having the oppressed people living under a constant state of unhealthy anger or resentment. That resentment, over time, might be so strong as to destroy individuals and families within that oppressed community. Forgiveness without a correction of the injustice at the very least solves that one problem of destructive resentment.
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