Book Therapy for Life’s Big Questions

[Note: Over the next few weeks, I will be moving some posts here that I had previously published on my first blog, Everyday Intensity. This updated piece was originally published Oct. 24, 2011.]

melancholy-of-haruhi-suzumiyaDo you ever struggle with existential questions and concerns? Do these questions affect your writing? And just what are existential questions, anyway?

Existential concerns are simply questions having to do with our human existence and the search for meaning to which such questions can lead. Existential philosophies are varied in their specifics, but they all wrestle with such topics as the absurdity of existence, the extent to which we are truly free, and what constitutes a meaningful life. In psychology, existential psychotherapy helps patients to deal with these ‘ultimate’ postmodern concerns.” Read More

The Japanese light novel The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which I wrote about at Psychology Today (“What Does It All Mean?“), is an excellent example of how existential themes can be found in modern literature and how bibliotherapy can be useful in facing some of life’s most important and difficult questions of meaning, for adults as well as adolescents. You can watch a clip from the anime version of the scene mentioned in the article:

What books or other art forms help you with existential questions?

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