Logotherapy heals because it celebrates life. This is the conclusion I came to after taking a short break from my cooking yesterday to jam with my family. We were playing the “In Crowd” – my husband on piano, my son on bongos and my five year old grandson was proudly playing his new harmonica.
Music is an example of what Viktor Frankl calls experiential values. These kinds of values are a celebration of life because pleasure makes us feel alive.
Moreover, experiential values are meaningful because the giver creates the necessary conditions for gratitude. In Hebrew, gratitude is called hakarat hatov, literally ‘recognition of good.’ The recipient of the gift enjoys not only the gift but also the love that comes with it. Thus, gift-giving increases love in the world not only because of the giver but because of the appreciation on the part of the recipient.
And when I thought about this some more I realized that not only experiential values but also what Frankl calls creative values are a celebration of life. Every time we contribute artistic creativity, kindness or adopting a habit that makes the world a better place, we are adding good to the world, which is a cause for celebration.
But what about Frankl’s attitudinal values, which is the expression he uses to refer to choosing one’s attitude in the face of pain and suffering? Can these be examples of celebration or are they just a way to cope?
Seeking to find good even where good is not easily found, ensures that not one single part of life is discarded as useless of meaningless. Celebrating life is much more than a matter of survival. It’s a matter of experiencing life as good!