Unum Necesse | The One Thing that is Required | Will to Meaning


Will to meaning refers to the basic striving of human beings to find and fulfill meaning and to create purpose in their lives. People reach out to find meaning which they can fulfill. Meaning is in a very real sense the unique demands made on us in the particular situations we find ourselves in throughout the course of our lives. It has a moral quality which requires a responsible response in a way that makes each individual personally accountable to answer these demands in a way that is “right”. Frankl was clear that: “It is the task of conscience to disclose to man the unum necesse, the one thing that is required” (Frankl, 1977:34). Meaning is always discovered and not invented. “Conscience” is the “wisdom of the heart”, (Frankl, 1977: 39).

According to Frankl meaning can be found in three broad ways: 1. Experiential values – experiencing something or someone we value, which might be akin to Maslow’s peak experiences which have a transcendent quality. 2. Creative values – doing deeds, becoming involved in projects, or being deeply involved in one’s own life. 3. Attitudinal values – these include values such as: compassion, bravery, and humour. The most significant here though, is the achievement of meaning through suffering. To choose how to bear one’s suffering for Frankl, was the last inner freedom which could not be taken away.


Frankl, V. (1977). The Unconscious God: Psychotherapy and Theology. London: Hodder & Stoughtan.

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Conscience | My Experience


For me this has always been an internal matter. From the time I was a young girl I sought spiritual meaning. My grandparents were deeply religious in a real and humble way. However, my experience with certain family members who claimed to be religious, or who attended church did not attest to a lived moral code. This lead to a lifelong exploration of religion, until I realised that ultimately what was needed was to become a better person, not according to external values, but according to what it meant to me.

Then I discovered Buddhism and it appealed to me that I have to do the work, every day, in each moment and encounter, to be patient, kind, avoid anger etc. I don’t feel called by a superego type structure, but rather do what I think is right, which often does not accord with current cultural norms. Such as, not harming animals, or eating meat, or using products tested on animals etc. My conscience is my internal voice, but I am also guided by trying to live according to Buddhist moral precepts, (there are others).

The five basic precepts are:

1.  I observe the precept of abstaining from the destruction of life.

2. I observe the precept of abstaining from taking that which is not given.

3. I observe the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct.

4. I observe the precept of abstaining from falsehood.

5. I observe the precept of abstaining from intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause carelessness.

Header Image purchased at Creative Market – Huge Nature Photo Set.