When I first posted to this blog my first short thoughts about the meaning of the life, I had completely forgotten, that in 1994 I had first read Viktor E. Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning, original name Ein Psycholge erlebt das Konzentrationslager (some kind of direct translation into English could be ”A Psychologist experiences a concentration camp”. The Finnish translation to the book is Ihmisyyden rajalla. Direct translation to this in English is On the border of humanity.
Why this book is so important to me is, that my so called high school (lukio) years were pure hell to me… My math teacher was sure that I would fail the 6 hours examination on math and I can’t blame him: Because of the circumstances while I was at high school, I didn’t at first pass some of the math courses. At lukio in Finland the grades are from 4 to 10 in all the courses. I got some 4s in math and had to try again to get at least 5 to pass the course. It was a miracle that the average of my math grades eventually was even 6 that is really weak grade.
From the final 6 hours exam that is the same (though in math there is more advanced line compared to the other to choose from) for every high school students in Finland, I got eventually cum laude approbatur as grade. At the time the grades for this exam were improbatur (failed), approbatur, lubenter approbatur, cum laude approbatur, magna cumlaude approbatur and laudatur. Nowadays there is eximia magna cum laude approbatur between magna and laudatur.
But I didn’t do the final exam that consists of many days of 6 hours exams with the other students. With my school’s principal I had agreed that I will do the whole exam apart from the other students. This was how in my high school years I did eventually also all the courses after the first year.
Image courtesy of surasakiStock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
After I had read many Viktor E. Frankl’s books, it was after two years when I took the one chance to try to raise my math grades: I got 9 for the 11 math courses, laudatur for the final exam. I was on the ”advanced mathematics” courses at high school. Though compared to university math those high school courses are child play.
I compared often my high school years to Frankl’s experiences. Of course his experiences were whole lot more extreme: He couldn’t be sure if he sees the next morning – or hour… Though, later on my life seeing the next morning hasn’t been very certain…
To emphasize Frankl’s books importance, they made me understand how to live. One point is: No matter how terrible the circumstances in one’s life are, one should strive to see some meaning to live and get even further in life. The worst case that Frankl describes for a human is, that one has only one’s existence. This is where one should try to find meaning to one’s existence, after that one can begin to find meanings to one’s life.
I really should get back to the ideas of meaning of life. As Frankl’s says, he understood, that the highest goal in one’s life is love. But as to meaning of life, Frankl has written that life (some other person) should ask that from oneself; it’s hard to really find the meaning of life by oneself. Even if one can as a word or some kind of concept see love as the primary meaning of life, depending on the circumstances it may be hard to find the right path directly.
One thing that I’ve said to myself sometimes is: Life must be experienced, it’s not be watched on the TV. Only by living, one can learn how to live and get real experiences from which to learn.
Link: Wikipedia: Viktor E. Frankl
This month I decided to translate into English some of my Google+ page’s Philosophy collection’s thoughts written in Finnish. Some thoughts are quite hard to translate, since direct translation often changes the meaning too much. With an alternate choice of words there may be a slight difference in the meaning, but it is often more close to the original meaning of the thought than the direct translation.
In the Finnish language there are no prepositions or articles for any words, all the words have different forms depending on the context.
The nouns have most forms. The amount of these forms has varied in time. Nowadays there are 14 forms for one word with 15 grammatical cases. The accusative grammatical case always appears in the same form than some other grammatical case of the same word. In the dialects there exists at least one grammatical case, that doesn’t exist in the written standard language.
Furthermore, in practice every language culture as such is slightly different, so that the direct translations are not often sensible. One must choose words, that most closely match the original meaning. In addition, every language culture lives its own life, varying and changing in time…
Finally to the translated thoughts…
1. A thought, I came up at one night, that can be interpreted in multiple ways: The nature doesn’t betray. That’s way it should be respected.
[To the word ‘betray’ one online dictionary gives 26 alternatives to the original Finnish word ‘pettää’ that is in form ‘petä’ (Luonto ei petä) in the original Google+ post.]
2. Bad help can be more harmful, than helping not at all. – Can help in those cases (always) really be considered as help?
3. The philosophy of the lyrics in the love songs: The lyrics should not be defining; otherwise the freedom and full potential of love is missing.
4. My childhood’s (I was 12 years old) pondering at the middle of the elementary school’s class immersed in my own thoughts: If anyone could make the choice between good and evil, why would anyone choose evil?
5. The next thought is pondering of a Finnish saying (though, this saying may be somewhat widespread, I don’t know where it may originally come from), that could be translated as follows: ”The most important thing isn’t the goal, but the journey.”
Sometimes these kinds of old sayings may have arisen from blunders: For example there may have been people on their journey to somewhere, but they have got lost. Then someone may have said to relieve the situation this saying, that has left its mark in life/language.
If we assume, that the mentioned saying has arisen from some blunder, it may not be wise to take the saying as an actual guideline — particularly if in the assumed blundering the goal that may have been set, had never been reached. On the other hand, the saying can be used in a reasonable way too: If, for example, some journey has ended up by getting lost, what could be better way to cheer up each other, than to say: ”Well, the goal isn’t so important, but the journey.” To add some humor from the popular Finnish TV comedy series ”Kummeli”: ”Tomorrow again.” 🙂
6. [I had shortened the next one a bit, because of different kind of humor that the Finnish comedians often make (at least used to make) compared to many others.]
Humor is a difficult field. For example everyone can (probably) clown around, but it isn’t always humor neither it can be considered as comedy always. To succeed for example in sketch comedy the actors and/or actresses must enter into one’s role in the way, the viewers can experience the comedy so that it doesn’t look like acting; it is particularly bad case, if the viewers notice, that the actors and/or actresses laugh to their own jokes as they are acting.
In addition, from the point of view of morale it’s not good, if any humor has been made by someone else’s expense (from real life). The mentioned may, for example, cause different kinds of negative phenomena, for example discrimination of some people.
The test of mental health is, that can the viewer make a difference between the fact and the fiction.
7. Living the life in a humble way, without expecting or asking anything from life, life can reward one and give something ”back”; when it’s its time, life knows it. This present or gift of life is something one may not despise nor can one be proud of; otherwise life may take more than it gives, take even more, than it has ever given.
8. Sometimes being still, by stopping everything, giving oneself time for a ”moment”, doing nothing, being ”loose” from everything, can take one forwards in life more than an express train – and faster.
9. In time a lie becomes unbearable in truth.
A lie is like a cancer, that tries to take over its host, in the end to kill the host, that is, hiding the truth by blinding and by leading its host into darkness. Finally the cloak, that the lie represents, falls into impossible and truth gets its place; for when the darkness of a lie is big enough, the lie is also a lie to itself, so that the lie is cancer to itself too, exhausting itself; so the lie dies.
10. According to the assumption/supposition as the Big Bang happened, also the laws of the nature were originated. According to the assumption/supposition that, what we call life, is evolutionary phenomenon, in practice in many sense ”dynamic”.
Now, can one for certain assume, that in the field of physics the study of the laws of the nature are in life’s varied and dynamic evolution in certain ”static”, that is, always the same after they have first been discovered and modeled ”for the first time” in so called sensible accuracy?
What if the chaos theory and the fact that it is utilized in many fields of sciences, reflects in fact in addition the dynamical nature of the laws of the nature themselves too, somehow?
If the laws of the nature are in fact somehow ”dynamic” besides life itself, can ”the theory/theories of everything” be forgotten, if it/them doesn’t/don’t ”live in the spirit of the time”.
The previous thought of mine is really only a poetic question and speculation…
There are some more thoughts on my Google+ page that are both in Finnish and in English and there are more to come…
The world we live in, is somewhat imperfect and there are many kinds of often invisible walls, obstacles. In addition, to keep one in love is hard, after one believes, one has found love.
But what has one in fact found? Is love the partner, one has found? Or is this love person him/herself, who experiences loving his/her partner? In both of these views can be something imperfect, yet something right.
One substantial failing in these views can be kind of missing symbiosis of love, that at best in coaction would grow love of the both, particularly both of the partners could feel and experience that one is loved by the other.
One fundamental matter is, that it is important, that both of the partners are mentally as much as possible present, when they’re together. This way they can touch each other also mentally, at best all the time.
It is very significant, that the both are able to achieve inner harmony in love, that is the source to everything, they do. In which case for example doing the dishes is not just housework, but when it is done from love, the housework gives something back. Even doing the dishes can thus grow the love of the both, when one doesn’t do the dishes just for oneself, on the other hand not just for the partner, but does the work for both from love for the shared path.
Now doing the dishes (and everything else the partners do) grows the love of the both and the home of the partners is protected by the common love of the partners with kind of harmonic, yet complex, form of love, which makes the home, even if it were as such somewhat modest, a pleasant place to live in.
At the beginning of this post, I brought forth the imperfectness of this world. Can love be measured? If it can be, does it have some maximum value, from which it can’t grow anymore?
One — on the other hand simple, yet complex — point of view of mine is, that in this world living in love, in addition to make this love grow, is ”dynamic” yet harmonic metaphor of the sine wave.
It kind of seems, that in this life, one can’t go only to one direction, at least it is difficult. But when we take a look at the sine wave, we notice, that it goes harmonically up and down, but the direction is always forwards without any limit (as seen in the set of real numbers, in the set R). Aforesaid pointing at the sine wave I was after, is substantially the metaphor of living in love and how to make it grow.
Now it is important, that my point in sine wave metaphor is not the ”downhills” and ”uphills” of life as such, but the fact, that it seems, that in this world there is some kind of limit to love. In the sine wave metaphor I’m after the idea, that as the partners grow their love to each other, in their way the direction is all the time forwards and in their way forwards in life being up and down can mean at best something else than misfortune.
It can be about the strange fact, that sometimes the both partners in a way go inside misery (the bottom of the sine wave), but instead of being in misery in the bottom of life, life can be lived in love remembering, what is important and at the same time the partners are in fact growing their love (at the bottom of the “sine wave”).
Now, when the partners next time ”achieve the top of the sine wave”, love is more varied than before. It is important to notice, that the question is there now more love in a measurable way, is not necessarily meaningful. Better view to love now is, that it has taken new forms and is more varied than before. In other words: More understanding in love.
In the lyrics of the video below, you can hear “Can love be measured by the hours in a day”…
The inspiration to this blog post came from my girlfriend, the Morning Sun; without her this post would not have become into existence.
I remember the time, when I went into seclusion for about a year reading, as it comes to philosophy, Viktor E. Frankl’s books, when I began to experience some kind of intellectual awakening, many kinds of it.
At the time, I started to think about from where kind of feelings such as disgust and even hatred to other people may come from.
I came into conclusion, that sometimes mentioned feelings may in fact be caused by the fact, that oneself doesn’t accept some qualities or customs of others to oneself. In short, if one doesn’t accept something to oneself, one doesn’t accept it to others either. One may even hate such thing(s) in other people and as a result of this, one may even start to hate other people. But one can’t define surrounding life only from relation that one has to one’s relation to surrounding life, particularly one can’t define surrounding life only by oneself!
Furthermore, if one starts to hate people by mentioned above, one may in fact harden oneself and in the worst case denies love from oneself and become ”tough” and violent.
In addition one must remember, that ice is slippery; one who has hardened oneself may be slick and sarcastic (in bad way), but because of mentioned qualities of oneself, one doesn’t aim at constructive solutions with environment, but in fact also with intelligence shatters, because the intellectual operation doesn’t strive from the harmony of love.
Understanding in love will build more permanent solutions to everyone’s life.
This kind of hardness (or ”toughness”) may give an illusion of power, but is as ice; in cold it is stiff, but when morning sun gradually melts the ice, it melts all that stiffness. Similar thing may be seen in all hardness and hatred, when love takes it place on them.
Image courtesy of Liz Noffsinger at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As it comes to ice, because of all the more warm morning sun, instead of ice in the spring will be eventually water, which is to be absorbed by the land. As a result of this land get’s ”life’s elixir” to grow life on it; and soon instead of stiff ice can be seen one of the colors of the nature, green, in form of grass.
The land beneath the grass may be rough, but if it wouldn’t be rough, one would fall. The land is where one can put one’s steps.
To reader, what is the most powerful power of life? Particularly stronger than hardness, ”toughness” or hatred.
This blog post was inspired by a conversation in one morning with my girlfriend, Morning Sun, when we were talking about life in general and my past.
People often think that mathematics teaches us only to calculate. However when one goes deeper into mathematics, it teaches us also to think more philosophically whole life, everything.
Mathematics has inspired to views concerning the whole cosmos in its many fields solely from its abstract being that is as such separated from everything else. That is, the philosophical deepness in mathematics is so strong that it kind of stretches views to everything…
Edward Frenkel has written in his book ”Love and Math” as follows: ”Mathematics teaches us to rigorously analyze reality, study the facts, follow them wherever they lead. It liberates us from dogmas and prejudice, nurtures the capacity for innovation. It thus provides tools that transcend the subject itself.”
Copyright: basketman23 / 123RF Stock Photo
Georg Cantor who became famous from his studies on cardinality of the sets has written: ”The essence of mathematics lies in its freedom.” Frenkel has written ”where there is no mathematics, there is no freedom”.
In the own field of mathematics born freedom may inspire to produce very peculiar interpretations. Mathematicians are often misunderstood or they themselves may not seem to understand things that are normal to “normal” people.
Anyway, for the end Edward Frenkel’s beautiful thought from his book ”Love and Math”: ”My dream is that all of us will be able to see, appreciate and marvel at the magic beauty and exquisite harmony of these [mathematical] ideas, formulas and equations, for this will give so much more meaning to our love for this world and for each other.”
I and my girlfriend tried orienteering today. It’s been long time since either of us has been orienteering. We just walked slowly the course, the easiest one.
Better than meditation for the mind! 🙂
Below is the map, where you can see the course:
To tell you the truth, I was 15 years old when I was orienteering before today’s short walk. It was somewhere in Switzerland.
The texts in the map are in Finnish and Swedish.