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In: A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal
In: A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal

Illness is a perceptual phenomenon: it is far more than a complex physiological element. As Lord John Habgood stated, ‘life events are more important than our genetic inheritance […] we must take the whole of what we are into account.’ There exists an objective and subjective duality to illness. The objective portion is the disease itself. The subjective nature is that of illness, or the experience of being ill. Recognising, as Nietzsche had, that ‘we…are not free to divide body from soul,’ a pivotal question is begged. How can the sick define themselves (discover meaning) in the experience of illness, which causes suffering? Accepting Wolf’s position that ‘a diagnosis is a statement about what we would like to be different about our existence,’ the disease can serve initially as an impetus for self-discovery through the suffering of illness. Enduring the journey from illness to health is uniquely dependent upon the meaning intentionally attached to the suffering. Viktor Frankl, a physician, was able to create meaning of senseless suffering. His philosophical stance incorporated in Logotherapy can give those who are ill the freedom to define themselves instead of allowing medical professionals and medical conditions the power of definition. More importantly, Frankl’s will to meaning can support those who are experiencing illness, bring dignity to their suffering and help them to endure their conditions through awareness and compassion for themselves and others. As Frankl wrote, ‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’

In: Illness, Bodies and Contexts: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
In: A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal
In: A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal
In: A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal
In: A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal
In: A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal
In: A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal
In: A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal