“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” (Nietzsche)

Last week, a very good friend gave me a book as a present which must be one of the most encouraging books ever written. I’ve only started to read it although I would have finished it several times over, would I not be too tired when I find time to start reading. I want to share a few paragraphs with you which I found deeply inspiring.

Gordon, W. Allport, a former professor of psychology at Harvard University, wrote in his preface to Viktor E. Frankl’s book “Man’s Search For Meaning” in which he pays tribute to hope from the Holocaust:

Hunger, humiliation, fear and deep anger at injustice are rendered tolerable by closely guarded images of beloved persons, by religion, by a grim sense of humour, and even by glimpses of the healing beauties of nature – a tree or a sunset.

But these moments of comfort do not establish the will to live unless they help the prisoner make larger sense out of his apparently senseless suffering. It is here that we encounter the central theme of existentialism: to live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering. If there is a purpose in life at all, there must be a purpose in suffering and dying. But no man can tell another what this purpose is. Each must find out for himself, and must accept the responsibility that this answer prescribes.

Frankl himself, a Holocaust survivor, who lost most of his family in concentration camps, in his preface to the 2004 edition of the book, writes:

I had simply wanted to convey to the reader by way of a concrete example tat life holds a potential meaning under any condition, even the most miserable ones. And I thought that if the point were demonstrated in a situation as extreme as that in a concentration camp, my book might gain a hearing. I therefore felt responsible for writing down what I had gone through, for I thought it might be helpful to people who are prone to despair.

For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.


Here is a postscript to yesterday’s post about the Department’s of Health Consultation about home care (closing date tomorrow afternoon). I thought it would be interesting to read what they say about (1) Quality Standards (surprisingly, there are no national standards for home care!) and (2) Training for Care Workers (even more surprisingly, there is no minimum level of training required in order to be a home care worker in Ireland!).

Question on Quality Standards

At the moment, there are no national standards for home care. This means that the quality of home care can differ among home care providers. Other countries have introduced national standards. We would like to know your views on whether or not you think national quality standards should apply in the future to home care providers in Ireland?

Question on Training for Care Workers

Currently, there is no minimum level of training required in order to be a home care worker in Ireland, though many have completed relevant training. Other countries have introduced minimum training levels in order to help ensure a better quality of service. We would like to know whether or not you think this would be a good idea for Ireland.
Do you think that formal home care workers should have to complete a minimum level of training that would be set by the Government?