A Collapse of Value System

When things go wrong and are faced with difficult challenges, people tend to lose their life meaning. What exactly happens when people lose their ikigai?

Nick and
Motoki Tonn discuss one of the consequences of losing ikigai in our lives: the fall down of our value systems.

Nick: It is inspiring wisdom. And it was, for me the experience of trying to read a book and then say, I hadn't proactively read Japanese for so long, and then I thought I'll try to read this book. And of all books I try to read, I'm reading this book by Kamiya, which was like a dissertation times 10 -- it's not a self-help book. 

It was this study and she references so many people. And I remember when I finally understood a sentence or paragraph, and I was so inspired by the content, and I would run to my wife and say "Is this right?" And I'd be so inspired by what she'd write. 

I remember how she explained a loss of ikigai as being a collapse of one's value system. Let's say, you value love, intimacy, trust. And then you find out your partner has been cheating on you. All those things, maybe you value trust, love, intimacy, they've in a way betrayed you or you feel they've pertained to you because your partner has cheated on you. 

And so you have this collapse of your value system, and try to despair. So yeah, values play a real role in Kamiya's work as well. So when I read that, I was like, Oh, my God, I just didn't think of it like that. That it's these bad things that happen. But what they really represent is a collapse of our value system. And I was like, ah, but that makes sense. 

Motoki: I think as you asked me, this book, which one of maybe the most, one of the 10 most important books one can read by Viktor Frankl. But I recently was stepping, I was looking to most, a lot of his publications like 20 are like papers or lectures he gave. 

And I think one that's really resonating with me, for I see here, he closed lecture at the world's logotherapy Congress at that time, and it got really famous, I guess, and it's connects also Japan to Europe. 

Because what he said, when you talk about the collapse of values, since Auschwitz, one of the problems, one of the most prominent, unfortunately, concentration camps since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake. 

So he was like really saying, we have seen the worst and the most evil things from men in the concentration camp. And we've seen what kind of impact technology and man can bring into this world. So like, with that we can ruin the whole planet, you know, and this is still to come. 

So we're talking about climate change. And also, I think a lot of people will say, we're ruining the planet, but in a slow burn at the moment. So the question of values comes back again. The question is, what is really valuable to us? 

Is it like the moment of what we enjoy the pleasures right now, or is it more we make this planet with our love or with hope, we make life worth living for the next generations? And when you talk about the collapse of values, I really had to think of also others, especially I think, of course, like the Jewish people, the concentration camps or Elie Wisesl who's really famous for his quote: God didn't exist in Auschwitz. 

So he was writing of these nights in Auschwitz where he always questioned his own god and constantly talking, which itself, our prayers, and if you read that, it's really, it hits my stomach. And I think we just have to read and meditate on that, to see what is possible, what man can do, like exactly that quote.

And then we really come back to the most basic themes, what is valuable for us in life? And that's maybe when you asked me why it's so fascinating for me, I'm just a student like someone who wants to study these lives. 

And it applies to our daily teachings, what you do with the ikigai tribe. I would always say, like, Nick, go for an ikigai Institute, to give justice to all your knowledge and all that you're doing.

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