To watch this inspiring interview, click HERE.
To read a summary more thorough than the part below, click HERE for .pdf format or HERE for Word format.
by Glen Anderson, producer and host of this TV series
An inherent part of our human consciousness is to seek meaning and purpose for our lives. People who understand that their lives have meaning and purpose enjoy better mental health than those who do not.
During World War II the Nazis imprisoned Viktor Frankl in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Viktor Frankl recognized that the prisoners who saw meaning and purpose for their lives were much more likely to survive than those who did not. He was a psychiatrist, so when he was released, he developed his psychiatric treatment method to help people discover their lives’ meaning. He wrote a powerful book about his experience, titled Man’s Search for Meaning.
Nowadays, the world is suffering again – not on the horrible scale of the Holocaust, but suffering in different ways. Many people feel overwhelmed by endless wars, the powers of giant corporations, corrupt governments, serious damage to our environment and climate, and on and on.
People know we are living in difficult times. Many people feel overwhelmed by the problems and despair of solving them. Many people have shrunk down into lonely escapism.
This month’s TV program affirms that we can indeed live meaningful lives during hard times, and that working on important issues can give real meaning to our lives.
Our TV program features five persons who have devoted much time and effort to help our local community and the world around us. They have worked on a variety of issues including peace, environment, human rights and economics. They have organized a variety of activities including some that are visionary and some that are nitty-gritty practical.
Our guests are five local persons I respect very much:
• Lisa Smith
• Paul Pickett
• Jody Mackey
• Chris Van Daalen
• Bonnie Jacobs
We began with our guests summarizing the wide range of issues and activities they have been working on over the years.
Our guests’ experiences from childhood and young adulthood helped to shape who they are, so they share a few stories from when they were young and some experiences of transitions or growth after becoming adults.
The guests share some of the lessons they have learned from their efforts – and how those efforts have added purpose and meaning to their lives. They discuss a variety of difficulties along the way, and how they handled those.
They also share some insights and wisdom to help people who are not yet very active get started.
The times we are living in are hard in many ways, including nearly 70 years of terror from nuclear weapons, severe damage to our environment and our climate, endless and futile wars, worsening threats to our freedom and privacy, a widening gap between the very rich and everyone else, a corrupt and dysfunctional government, and on and on.
People know we are living in difficult times. Many people feel overwhelmed by the problems, which can seem too big and nasty to solve. But we are not alone. Many other people feel those frustrations and that despair.
Giving up only causes more pain. We would be happier if we find something that needs doing and to do it. What you do might seem small, but it is very important that you do it.
For good mental health, people need to figure out what gives meaning to their lives – and then follow up and act on those things that make their lives meaningful.
Some people do meaningful work through their jobs, and others through volunteer work.
Each person can find ways to help the rest of the world, and help themselves in the process.