Three Types Of Destiny

In his profound book Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl, one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, considers three types of human destiny.

The first one is biological. It is pre-dermined by heredity and can hardly be changed, i.e. your height, body shape, colour of your hair, etc.

The second one is psychological destiny. For example, this includes your temper and character.

The last one is social destiny, i.e. the social environment you were born into.

A crucial remark from the auhor here is that human beings are capable to shape all types of their destinies. This is what Viktor Frankl calls resistance of spirit. This echoes, by the way, with the 5th tenet of taekwon-do – indomitable spirit.

I cannot agree more with the author.

On a daily basis, we all have an opportunity to deal with these three destines. If we’re not happy with out social status, we can work hard to change it. If we lose temper too quickly, we can learn to control it instead of blaiming our Zodiac signs. We can even change our biological characteristics, i.e. by growing muscles or taking a diet.

And if we can’t, we always have an opportunity to change our perspective towards what we can’t change. In other words, we can exercise the value of attitudeone of the three values embedded in our lives.

To sum up, there is always space for free will, even though it may be restricted by biological, psychological or social factors.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger put it:

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

Other posts on Viktor Frank’s Man’s Search for Meaning:

Crowd Vs. Community
Castaneda And Frankl: A Bridge Between Esoterics And Psychology
The Pillars Of Human Existence: Spirituality, Freedom and Responsibility
Three Types of Values That Make Life Meaningful
Where Space for Growth Lies
Death Makes Life Meaningful
Heredity And Environment Vs. Will and Action
Knowledge Vs. Wisdom


The Pillars Of Human Existence: Spirituality, Freedom and Responsibility

Note: translated from Russian, highlighted by me.

Spirituality, freedom and responsibility are three human’s existentials. Not only do they characterize human existence, but they also constitute the same. In this sense spirituality is not just man’s feature, but rather his constituting peculiarity. Spiritual is not only present in human beings in addition to the corporal and psychic like in animals. Spiritual is what distinguishes man from anything else, what is essential in him and only for him.

A plane remains a plane of course when moving on the ground. It can and it constantly has to move on the ground! But only when up in the air it proves to be a plane. Likewise man starts acting like man only when he is able to overcome the inherent psycho-physical conditions of his organism.

This possibility is true existence, and to exist means to constantly go beyond your own self.

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Other posts on Viktor Frank’s Man’s Search for Meaning:

Three Types of Values That Make Life Meaningful
Where Space for Growth Lies
Death Makes Life Meaningful
Heredity And Environment Vs. Will and Action
Knowledge Vs. Wisdom

Three Types of Values That Make Life Meaningful

According to Viktor Frankl, man’s search for and realization of his meaning of life is an embedded motivational tendency. This goes in line with Abraham Maslow’s idea of self-actualization.

Yet Viktor Frankl, the author of the famous Man’s Search for Meaning, goes further and defines three sets of values, which are ways to make one’s life meaningful.

Each individual has and can find his own meaning of life. Through the below values this meaning, sense, and purpose can be manifested.

The first way is what we give to the world. This is is the value of creativity and creative work. The idea of creative work is about what one does above his assigned work duties; what he brings to his work environment as an individual.

The value of creativity is an important and natural one, yet not indispensable. Sometime one single experience, a flash of a moment can make life meaningful. This is the second way – what we take from the world.

Frankl highlights love as the most important of such experiences. Yet someone who has never loved and hasn’t been loved can still make his life meaningful.

And this is when the third type of values comes into play – the values of attitude, i.e. our attitude towards situations or destinies we cannot change. Men exercise these values when they find themselves under circumstances which seem insurmountable.

As soon as we introduce this last category of values to our existence, our lives can no longer be meaningless.

Our lives remain meaningful until the very last breath.

Other posts on Viktor Frank’s Man’s Search for Meaning:

Where Space for Growth Lies
Death Makes Life Meaningful
Heredity And Environment Vs. Will and Action
Knowledge Vs. Wisdom

Life Is A Painting

Life has many analogies. One of my favourite ones is life as a road.

I also like to think of life as a painting. I have never ever painted, but I like the idea.

We all come into this world with a paint-box made up by our genes and inner inclinations. Heredity and environment continue to influence us for the rest of our lives.

Yet it’s absolutely up to us how to use the tools we have, and which picture to paint. Besides, we can add some new paints to our boxes as we progress, or get rid of the ones we don’t need.

Our omnipotence is thus manifested in the freedom of choice and will versus fate and determinism.

There is always a degree of determinacy in our lives that is linked to our inherited qualities, our past actions and present wishes. It can be called determinism, destiny, fate, or in any other way.

At the same time, though, there is space for freedom as we are free to choose today how to live tomorrow.

Universe gives us stones, but we are not stones – we are builders.

Universe gives us rocks, but we are not rocks – we are sculptors.

Universe gives us paints, but we are not paints – we are artists.

Horoscope Compatibility: Truth Or Fake?

wedding-horoscope-450Back in my teens I used to have fun trying to match my horoscope sign with the opposite sex.

Actually, it wasn’t just fun. It was damn serious.

Since my sign is Cancer, I knew “my match” would be either Scorpio or Pieces. At least every horoscope book said so.

So every time I met a girl I liked, I was trying to figure out her date of birth. In case she was either a Scorpio or a Pieces. my inner voice shouted ‘Bingo!”. And every time she was something else, it said “Not your type”.

Today I believe that astrology does make sense. Simply because we are always influenced by our environment, including the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The question, however, whether astrological prescriptions are a must-to-follow, or there is space for choice.

And I sincerely believe there is. As already raised in the previous post, man is capable to transcend his heredity and environment. No matter which genes he inherits and which circumstances he faces, a person always has his will and freedom of choice.

When you read a Zodiac description, and it says Scorpios are quick-tempered, for example, this is just a character inclination, and not the final verdict. And by no means an astrological background is an excuse for the drawbacks of one’s character.

This is the beauty oi human existence. Nature gives us building blocks to create our lives from: genes, inclinations, bodies. Yet we are the general constructors who create our own Lego worlds.

And as for love and Zodiac matching, let me finish off with a quote by Erich Fromm from his inspiring book The Art Of Loving:

Love isn’t something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.

Heredity And Environment Vs. Will and Action

viktor_franklI am continuing to absorb Viktor Frankl’s wisdom through his powerful work Man’s Search for Meaning.

One of the book’s chapters is the authors’ critique of pan-determinism, an approach according to which man is nothing but a product of his heredity and environment.

In other words, genes and circumstances are the only factors that define our actions. This means our lives are biologically and socially pre-determined, and change is not possible.

In contrast, V. Frankl argues that while these factors have a strong impact, man has always the freedom of will and choice. Although many life conditions are unchangeable, a person can always transcend his environment and change his own self.

Man is, and always remains, capable and resisting and braving even the worst conditions.

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

A good illustration of this is Professor Lange’s famous study of twin brothers one of which became an inventive criminal and the other one an inventive criminologist. Inventiveness could have been inherited. Yet whether become a criminal or a criminologist was a question of attitude.

This means heredity is nothing but a material man uses to build himself from. This is nothing but stones that can be accepted or rejected by a builder.

The builder himself, however, is not from stones.

So ultimately there is space both for fate and free will in our lives. It’s up to us whether we understand this and use to our advantage, i.e. construct a building we want to see.