26. About Suffering
One major theme discussed in The Mind of God, is the struggle to find meaning within the context of suffering. We learn much from those who have endured such challenges. One such individual is Viktor Frankl, a psychologist who survived unimaginable atrocities in the death camps of the holocaust.
Viktor has published more than 30 books, and has pondered deeply the meaning of life. He once proposed the following question to a discussion group:
Is an ape which is being used to develop a polio vaccine, and because of this continually punctured by needles, ever able to understand the meaning of its suffering? Everyone in the group agreed the ape could not understand because of its limited intelligence. As Viktor states: "It could not enter into the world of man, i.e., the only world in which the meaning of its suffering would be understandable." He then asked the question: "And what about man? Are you sure that the human world is a terminal point in the evolution of the cosmos? Is it not conceivable that there is still another dimension, a world beyond man's world; a world in which the question of an ultimate meaning of human suffering would find an answer?"1 Frankl proposes that meaning in life can only be found in the hope and anticipation of a future beyond the present situation. This is the basis of faith.
1. Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning (Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 2006) p.118