Tagged: “seeking justice”

I read your published article in the journal, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, in which you helped men in a maximum-security prison to forgive people who hurt them.  What is your next step, to open all the jail cell doors and let out everyone who has ever been hurt?

You are confusing forgiving and abandoning justice.  You can forgive a person and then seek justice.  As people in correctional institutions learn to forgive those who brutalized them when they were children or adolescents, this can lower their rage, making them less dangerous.  Advocating for their forgiving does not mean advocating for their release from the institution.

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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.
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