Man’s Search for Meaning

By: Victor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl‘s 1946 book. This book is chronicling his experiences as a prisoner. He was a prisoner at a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. As a prisoner, renowned psychiatrist Viktor Frankl survived the Nazi death camps. He developed logotherapy. It is a discipline of psychology based on the belief that meanings motivate humans. It was a result of his years of suffering, experiences, and discoveries. He recounted his camp experiences in this book. And also to use logotherapy to help individuals overcome anxiety. And to find happiness and fulfillment in their lives.

All significance and life ambitions are stripped away in a concentration camp. Why do some convicts endure and live when they have nothing but the skin on their backs? While others crumble or give up? Viktor Frankl thought that man’s search for meaning is a powerful motivator. That it permits us to overcome adversity, to do great things. His experience in the concentration camps reinforced his beliefs. It inspired him to develop logotherapy.

 

A Psychological Journey of Concentration Camp Prisoners

During WWII, Frankl was imprisoned. It was at Auschwitz and other concentration camps for three years (1942-1945). During this time, he saw the inmates going through three psychological phases. Each with its own set of symptoms: shock, apathy, and depersonalization.

When the prisoners arrived at the camps, the majority of them were shocked. They reacted in ways that would have been unusual in normal circumstances. Reactions such as delusions of reprieve, humor, curiosity, and a lack of fear.

At the level of death and suffering, new prisoners felt disdain, terror, and pity for their loved ones. Their initial astonishment faded. They settled into a routine and adjusted to their new harsh reality. They became numb to the physical and psychological pain. The pain of the regular beatings and torture as apathy crept in.

Following their liberation, the inmates went through a process known as depersonalization. They felt as if they were watching their lives from the outside in a dreamlike condition. feeling that they’re separated from their own bodies, thoughts, and feelings. Many ex-prisoners felt compelled to seek retribution, hatred, and disillusionment.

 

Logotherapy and Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl was inspired to develop logotherapy. It was a result of his experiences in concentration camps.

Logotherapy is a psychological method that focuses on the purpose of human existence. “Logos” means “meaning” in Greek. It’s based on the idea that meaning drives human behavior. We want to know why we exist, what we’re supposed to do with it, and if our existence is valuable.

The book doesn’t address man’s desire for meaning as a disease or focusing on the past. Logotherapy encourages introspection and assists people in defining their goals for the future. Logotherapy assumes that mankind is self-determining. Not assuming that biology and external conditioning dictate human behavior. We must not think of what has happened in the past, the decisions we make now will determine what happens next. It will redefine our existence, who we are, and who we will become.

 

Find The Meaning of Life

The meaning of life has no universal definition. Such meaning differs from one person to another and from one moment to the next. What matters is what your life means right now. Frankl’s philosophy is based on the idea that a man’s innermost desire is to find purpose in his existence. And that if he can do so, he can survive anything. Frankl found purpose in his experiences in the concentration camp. It was by deciding to use his misery to improve himself. He chose to embrace his misery rather than become apathetic and accept that he was doomed. A man’s destiny in life is influenced by the circumstances in which he finds himself. But Frankl believes that he is free to select his own path. Even in the most extreme situations, man has the ability to select his attitude toward life.

According to Frankl, there are three ways to discover purpose in life. Through work, love, and suffering. Throughout his three years in the camps, Frankl maintained his will to meaning. In other words, his desire to live a meaningful life. Alive by focusing on the potential meanings he could build for himself. Frankl kept himself motivated. He thinks about the tasks he intended to do once he left camp. And of course, finding purpose in his suffering. He intended to rewrite his logotherapy manuscript. The Nazis had taken it away from him when he arrived at Auschwitz. Frankl found hope in love as well, and the image of his wife helped him get through some of his worst moments.

Frankl was able to keep himself alive through his work, love, and pain. He felt responsible for and to them. He claims that humans are incapable of understanding the general meaning of life. Instead, we must seek out ways to make each particular moment significant. Every person has a distinct calling that only he can fulfill. And he is accountable for carrying it out.

About the Author

Image Source: GoalCast

  • Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor.
  • He was the founder of logotherapy. It is a school of psychotherapy. It describes a search for a life meaning as the central human motivational force. Logotherapy is part of existential and humanistic psychology theories.
  • Logotherapy was recognized as the third school of Viennese Psychotherapy. The first school by Sigmund Freud, and the second school by Alfred Adler.
  • Frankl published 39 books. The autobiographical Man’s Search for Meaning is a best-selling book. It is based on his experiences in various Nazi concentration camps.
  • Between 1928 and 1930, he organized youth counseling centers. He was still a student back then. This is to address the high numbers of teen suicides occurring around the time of the end of the year report cards. In 1931 not a single Viennese student died by suicide.
  • Frankl obtained his M.D. in 1930. He gained extensive experience at Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital. He was responsible for the treatment of suicidal women there. In 1937, he began a private practice. But the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938 limited his ability to treat patients.
  • In 1942, Frankl and his family were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. It was nine months after marrying his wife. His father died there of starvation and pneumonia. In 1944, Frankl and the surviving members of his family were taken to Auschwitz. This is where his mother and brother were gassed. His wife died later of typhus in Bergen-Belsen. Frankl himself spent a total of three years in four different concentration camps.
  • After his liberation, he was able to return to Vienna. There he became the head of the Neurological Department. It was at the general Polyclinic Hospital. Then he wrote Man’s Search for Meaning over a nine-day period.
  • The English translation of Man’s Search for Meaning was published in 1959. It became an international bestseller. Frankl saw this success as a symptom of the “mass neurosis of modern times”. The reason was the title promised to deal with the question of life’s meaningfulness.
  • In 1991, Man’s Search for Meaning was listed as one of the ten most influential books in the United States. There were respondents in a survey conducted for the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club.
  • Frankl developed logotherapy and existential analysis. These are based on philosophical and psychological concepts. The desire to find meaning in life and free will was a particular reason.

Source: Viktor Frankl From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

You might also enjoy

Deep Work

Back to all By: Cal Newport Cal Newport‘s book Deep

Books by the Author

  • Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning
  • The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy
  • Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything
  • The Doctor and the Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy
  • Man’s Search for Meaning: A Young Adult Edition
  • The Unheard Cry for Meaning
  • Recollections: An Autobiography
  • Ante el vacío existencial
  • Em Busca de Sentido
  • Über den Sinn des Lebens
  • On the Theory and Therapy of Mental Disorders: An Introduction to Logotherapy and Existential Analysis
  • El Hombre en Busca de Sentido
  • Der Mensch vor der Frage nach dem Sinn: Eine Auswahl aus dem Gesamtwerk
  • Mans Search For Meaning, Ultimate Meaning, The Choice 3 Books Collection Set
  • Búsqueda de Dios y sentido de la vida: Diálogo entre un teólogo y un psicólogo
  • La Psicoterapia al Alcance de Todos
  • Psykologi og eksistens
  • Viktor E Frankl Collection 2 Books Set
  • The Feeling of Meaninglessness: A Challenge to Psychotherapy and Philosophy
  • El hombre doliente: Fundamentos antropológicos de la psicoterapia
  • Hayatın Anlamı ve Psikoterapi = Die Sinnfrage in der Psychotherapie
  • Sincronizacion en Birkenwald
  • Prožitek hor a zkušenost smyslu
  • Llegará un día en el que serás libre: Cartas, textos y discursos inéditos
  • Sede de Sentido

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *