Seminar on Meaning
Seminar on Meaning and Purpose
Columbia, TN



Meaning.  How do you define the word?

This is where the seminar begins. The mere thought of the word reveals a panorama—purpose, goal, sense of fulfillment.

Several questions form the bedrock of thought for this topic:

  • What is the core of contentment in feeling of worth or of personal human dignity?
  • What is the "reason to be" which makes life worth living?
  • Who or what gives life purpose?

In this seminar, we approach these questions from our personal definition of meaning.

In the movie, Shawshank Redemption. Tim Robbins speaks of prison existence and the "place inside you" that they can't get to. That place is the soul or spirit. It is that essence of being in a person that will not let him give up or give in—the core feeling that "I am somebody."

In his book, Man's Search For Meaning, author, Viktor Frankl, found, while in prison, that the one who survived was more often the one who had a reason to live. A person who has a why to live for, may be able to rise above difficult circumstances.

Both the inner core of self-worth of the soul and the outer goals or purpose of the spirit are at the heart of this "seminar for the soul."

Man's Search for Meaning
Man's Search for Meaning, the chilling yet inspirational story of Viktor Frankl's struggle to hold on to hope during his three years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps, is a true classic. Frankl's training as a psychiatrist informed every waking moment of his ordeal and allowed him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. His assertion that "the will to meaning" is the basic motivation for human life has forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering. Read More
The Unheard Cry for Meaning
"Emphasizes the importance of helping people to find meaning in their lives, and thus to live at their fullest potential.  And,needless to say, those who live fully have neither fear of life nor fear of death." Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D.
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To Have or to Be?
To Have or To Be (1976) was Erich Fromm's last major work. In it he argues that two ways of existence were competing for 'the spirit of mankind'—having and being. The having mode looks to things and material possessions and is based on aggression and greed. The being mode is rooted in love and is concerned with shared experience and productive activity. The dominance of the having mode was bringing the world to the edge of disaster—ecological, social and psychological. [ABOUT FROMM]
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What are some of the discoveries I have made? I found I needed people because I needed the love they could give me. I found that love was something I did. I found that the way I showed people my need and love for them was to tell how it was with me in my deepest heart. I came to feel that was the most loving thing I could do for anyone -- tell them how it was with me and share my imperfections with them. When I did this, most people came back at me with what was deep within them. This was love coming to me. And the more I had coming to me, the more I had to give away. I ain't much, baby -- but I'm all I've got.
I Ain't Much, Baby--But I'm All I've GotLair originally wrote this book for his students, but when it gained widespread popularity he rewrote it for publication. It is a book meant to help people share in the success of finding themselves
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The relative weight of work and life, genius and person, haunts one's life with the feeling of never being able to size oneself up.
The Soul's CodePlato and the Greeks called it "daimon," the Romans "genius," the Christians "guardian angel"; today we use terms such as "heart," "spirit," and "soul." For James Hillman it is the central and guiding force of his utterly unique and compelling "acorn theory," which proposes that each life is formed by a particular image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny, just as the mighty oak's destiny is written in the tiny acorn. It is a theory that offers a liberating vision of childhood troubles and an exciting approach to themes such as fate and fatalism, character and desire, family influence and freedom, and, most of all, calling - that invisible mystery at the center of every life that speaks to the fundamental question "What is it, in my heart, that I must do, be, and have? And why?"
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Columbia, TN