Existenzanalyse 1/2009

Subjective Experience of Alienation: Measurement and Correlates

Evgeny Osin

Key words: alienation, estrangement, meaning, measurement

Results of empirical studies of alienation are described, based on cultural-historical and activity approach to meaning and to the existential-analytical model of dialogue with the world. Two versions of the (Russian) Sub­jective Alienation Questionnaire based on the Alienation test by Maddi et al. were validated on student and Internet samples (N = 901). In this test alienation showed negative correlations with meaning, hardiness, self-determination and other subjective and psychological well-being variables. Signi­ficant age- and profession-related differen­ces in alienation were found and discussed. Future research directions of social and psychological aspects of alienation and existential analysis effects on alienation are proposed.

Search for Meaning of cancer patients in Palliativ care

Herbert Csef

Key words:  cancer patients, logotherapy,  palliative care,  search for meaning, mean­ing-centered psychotherapy

Cancer patients in a palliative situation are in a radically changed reality, which pre­destine them for questions for meaning. The never-ending always present life-threat, which can be denied from time to time, but never vanishes completely has been described quite fitting as „Damokles-Sword-Syndrome“. The search for meaning can phenomenologically be illustrated in three dimensions of time: questions that reach back into the past, present questions and such that deal with the future. Psycho-Oncology has developed many forms of psychotherapy that refer to meaning of life (meaning-centered psychotherapy).

Philosophically those concepts are mostly based an the existential analysis and logo­therapy of Viktor Frankl. The deeper preoc­cupa­tion with search for meaning in palliative care is for most cancer patients helpful coping and the care for the dying.

Why We Suffer

Understanding, Dealing with and Treating Suffering from an Existential Analytical Point of View

Alfried Längle

Key words: Existential Analysis, fundamental motivations, Logotherapy, suffering, pain

The soul suffers when we are confronted with destruction. We suffer when a value or a condition for a good life is lost. Suffering and pain jeopardize our life totally or partially and menace our love for life. – Healing de­mands finding the capacities and resour­ces of the person in order to recur to them when encountering the destructive areas and chasms of existence.

Suffering is not only experienced in different ways but is also caused by innumerable topics and causes. It becomes clearer when we look at its topics, and if we know its contents we gain an existential access to the question of how to deal with it. This allows suffering to be directly addressed and makes possible the prevention of psychological disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression, hysteria, addiction, PTSD).

Meaning – Need, Necessity or Task?

Existential analytical substantiation of Logotherapy

Alfried Längle

Key words: Existential Analysis, believe, fundamental motivations, Logotherapy, meaning

The question why human beings are in search for meaning will first of all be pursued from the standpoint of Logotherapy, which sees it rooted both in existence being finite, limited and a task, as well as in the innate will towards meaning. Moral conscience, the logotherapeutic „organ of meaning“ is religiously understood as the voice of transcendence, and also religiously seen is the character of existence as being questioned and being a task.

Existential Analysis attempts to leave open the transcendental reference of meaning and to derive the psychological quest for meaning from anthropology and the structure of existence: from the human wanting to understand (search for contexts) and the becoming character of existence. Looked at in this way, the quest for meaning is an establishing of developmental and becoming potentials as well as an embedding into or creation of contexts.

In the following, an overview of existential analytical understanding of meaning is given: its constitutive dimensions and necessary psy­chological activities. This leads to the three horizons of meaning comprehension and a wider access towards Frankls attitudinal values. Through the existential analytical com­pre­hen­sion, the main emphasis of the process shifts from „in spite of“ towards „be­cause of“ – this can lead to the creation of additional basis for the fulfilment of existence.

In the midst of meaningless happiness and hapless meaning

On the philosophical and existential relationship between happiness and meaning

Emmanuel J. Bauer

Key words: Aristotle, Existential Analysis, luck and happiness, philosophy, self-realiza­tion, personal responsibility, meaning

Happiness is probably the deepest and most general desire of the human being. All that we are, think, feel and do finally draws its dynamic and orientation from the happiness longed for. But luck is not happiness. To be lucky does not ne­cessarily mean being happy. Even though happiness can not be the direct result of our thinking, wanting, planning and doing, we are able to contribute a lot to create the right circumstances for its possibi­li­ty. Is there any such thing as a talent for happiness, or the art of living a good life? What would it depend on? Real happiness must in any case be some­thing deeply human. It depends on the reali­zation of the most profound, original and truth­ful in us. As a consequence, the human needs meaning, successful realization of the high­est of all possibilities, through which the per­son achieves fulfilment. The relation­ship be­tween happiness and meaning proves to be intricate and mainly depends on how meaning is comprehended.

Search for luck and happiness throughout the centuries

The history of a human desire in the light of Existential Analysis

Astrid Görtz

Key words: existential quality of life, existential well-being, fundamental existential moti­vations, Philosophy of luck and happi­ness

Philosophy describes man’s search for luck and happiness. Various reductionisms become apparent, which are connected to specific existential topics, in particular to dimensions of “existential well-being“, which can also be measured empirically. The lecture gives a short overview of well-known ways of man’s search for luck and happiness in the history of western philosophy. They are connected to a personality model of “existential quality of life“, based on the fundamental existential motivations.