My latest research expedition has been taking me around information focused on the self and happiness. I started with two excellent sources on this topic who are French: Michael Dambrun, psychology professor at University Clermont Auvergne, and Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk.
Everyone has the right to pursue whatever theology they desire, and we must be tolerant of the large and widespread diversity of beliefs that exist worldwide. However, and this is an important however, you do not have the right to impose your beliefs on others, and you certainly cannot assert that your beliefs have more validity or truth to them than anyone else’s beliefs. And then, of course, there’s one additionally important caveat to what I am about to get into here: Your beliefs and their relevant actions cannot harm anyone in any way.
As of late, my research has been dwelling on a close examination of what constitutes meaning in life, as professed by a good number of professional philosophers and psychologists. When you putz around articles and books on meaning, one person comes up more than anyone else: Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning. First published in 1946, it’s required reading for anyone who wants to explore the topic of meaning in life.
I have been following the psychology-based literature about transcendence in old age, with a close eye on the theory of gerotranscendence (GT), which has elements of self-transcendence and cosmic transcendence, as championed by Swedish Psychologist Lars Tornstam, who came up with the theory in the 1980s. I identify closely with Tornstam’s theory and have previously wrote about it. GT is a fascinating aging-related topic.
Could it be said that the secret to a productive life, at any age, is one devoted to being as authentic to who you honestly believe you are inside for the longest span of your days alive? Is the key to living a productive life discovered by finding the right balance between what’s acceptable to survive from the perspective of your soul and what you find minimally acceptable to survive from the perspective of guaranteeing you have adequate (and preferably exceedingly comfortable) food-clothing-and-shelter?
I recently took a popular psychology test that measures whether or not you experience meaning in your life as well as how engaged and motivated you are in finding or deepening your life’s meaning.