Meaning of Live is Within the Self
Life will always have meaning if people can create what it is supposed to be within themselves. In life there are extreme exiling conditions within a deeper or narrow sense. “It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us” ( Frankl 98). Through all aspects and values of life there common struggles of exile within the self and society. Life can be absurd and unpredictable but everyone has to live it. How people chose to determine their freedom, choice, authenticity and meaning of life is what separates us from who we are as people.
When thinking about freedom in exile there is not much room for air, meaning that most of the time people are forced into exile, and their free will is stripped away completely. This theme of exile is portrayed in the “Adulterous Woman”. Albert Camus suggest the woman Janine is in exile to be her own person, and she chose the path of security rather than a chance at independence and freedom of living her own life. “Janine, leaning her whole body against the para-pet, was speechless, unable to tear herself away from the void opening before her” (). This quote goes hand in hand with the idealism that the fear of not having secure foundations of living is what directly influences extreme exile within the self. Nevertheless, the commitment Janine made with her husband has taken away her reason to live, realizing she is existing in a life where her value is dependent on her husband. “The last stars of the constellations dropped their clusters a little lower on the desert horizon and became still” (). She has caught a sense of a larger world where nomads are not restricted to a certain way of living, nothing is holding them back from restricted liberty. The want for a life that has individual freedom rather than the life she lives with her husband is her adultery and the biggest form of exile faced within herself. In reality, the desire to escape suffocating struggles and hesitations to pursue independence, is the most extreme exile within the self.
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In many circumstances of trial people are given the choice to be optimistic or to be hopeless. “Don’t lose hope… Have faith in life, a thousand times fate… Help each other. That is the only way to survive” (Wiesel 41). As imagined, the dehumanization and horror inflicted on the jewish community during the holocaust was unimaginable. In “Night”, Elie Wiesel’s exile was affected by racism and cruel tyranny, but still he remained optimistic. Through the challenges of his faith and means for living he always found some glimpse of hope that made him feel like one day there would be an end to the inhumane sufferings amongst him and his community. Elie talks about his struggles to believe in God and how he questions why God would allow such evil happen for as long as it was. Putting aside such anger and trusting that there is a deeper meaning to every struggle and suffering in life separates him tremendously as a person. “Run as if you had the devil at your heels! And most important, don’t be afraid.” Page 71 Elie authentically proceeded to live remembering his values and continually putting his trust where he knew would do right in the end. No matter how lonely or how isolated he felt from reality, Elie never lost sight of who he was as a person and refused to live afraid because the expense was his life. This helped him find hope and preserve through all trials thrown his way.
Millions of people chose to be in exile because fear of punishment due to the simplistic things in life. Human Flow is a very moving documentary capturing the life of refugees and what it is like to live in exile from their own homes but can not leave the outskirts of their countries. The documentary explains that there are at least “30 million refugees in the Syrian region alone” (Ai Weiwei), people are by choice choosing to leave their lives behind in hopes to live a better life somewhere else. In countries all over the world people are treated as indifferent, being exiled from human conditions, experiences and individual human rights. Refugee camps all over the world are set up to give these people a place to live where they can practice their beliefs freely and live with equality. Exile by choice is choosing to escape the exile that dehumanizes people as individuals, choosing not to be immune to the sufferings of dictatorship and tyranny that freedom can set free you from.
Peoples first initial response to struggles inflicted on our lives is defeat, continuously thinking about negative effects and tolls being placed on our everyday life. Viktor Frankl does a good job in “Man’s Search For Meaning” to help paint a picture of how we obtain making life meaningful. “Here lies the chance for a man to either make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation many afford him” (88). Frankl is trying to explain that although every life comes with suffering it also comes with meaning. But what is done with those deeper meanings helps people to grow into better individuals. Frankl compares a meaningful life to love, he states, “…love is as strong as death” (58). This comparison is trying to show that although death and sufferings have room for emptiness and feelings of non existence, there is also life to the struggles. Frankl is writing about his experience as a “prisoner” of Auschwitz, his emotions are inspiring in a way that he chooses hope and positivity over natural reactions that would normally be expressed when being stripped of his humanity. Frankl says, “Inner freedom cannot be lost” (87), being able to choose your attitude for any given circumstance and battle through your sufferings with dignity intact is what makes a meaningful life. It is not about what people do in life, it is about what values and purpose that can be self implemented on our lives.
In conclusion, every life and every struggle has a purpose. Although we might not understand why we are put in such exiling positions that we might be in, it is important to learn how to live through them. I think there will always be a balancing factors to our lives and at the end of every dark tunnel there is light. Therefore, people can find their meaning within the self. How people characterize and understand every aspect of life, belief, and values is what gives us a sense of meaning through all various conditions of exile.