Wednesday, May 8, 2013

25 Books: Man's Search for Meaning

I believe in thinking big on your birthday. On my birthday I set a goal to get 25 book recommendations from 25 people who I respect and admire. I didn't ask for their favorite book, but for a book that changed their life.I did this because I wanted to understand my friends, former teachers, co-workers, and family a bit better. If their was one book that changed their life, maybe it could help me out too.

This book was tough to get through. I really didn't want to read about the Holocaust after a month of stressful final projects and the events of Marathon week. After a month of avoiding and ignoring it, I finally got through Victor Frankl's book on his Holocaust experience. 

Hardly anybody alive today can truly relate to the experiences of living in a concentration camp. I don't want to pretend that any parts of my life have any sort of relation to the horrors that Mr. Frankl had to live through. However, the passages about good and evil stuck out to me after the events of April 15th. 

The rift dividing good from evil, which goes through all human beings, reaches into the lowest depths an becomes apparent even on the bottom of the abyss which is laid open by the concentration camp. 

Something was ripped open in Boston on that Monday. I remember saying to myself, as I walked down Beacon street, how great I thought the day was going. It was pleasant out, people of all races and ages were out cheering. Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves. Boston was a scene of tense confusion and fear a few hours later. I sat on the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart street for a few hours, paralyzed on what I should do. 

I hate the stereotype that some regions of the country are mean and others are nice. That's not true. There are nice people everywhere and there are jerks in just as many places. I saw a frat kid handing out water to people walking by, people were sharing cell phones to make emergency calls, and others were just letting police do their job. 

There is kindness in the world, it just baffles me that it takes such a jarring event to snap us out of our daily routine and let our goodness come to the forefront. 

Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. 

I like the idea of life as a series of tasks to complete. Just after year one of grad school, I wish I knew what those tasks were. Challenges will arise. I will just have to keep facing them. 

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