Man’s Search for Meaning
This is a book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He was one of the very few who survived. He was in three different concentration camps and experienced unimaginable atrocities.
Let me refer you to an outstanding article written by Kyle Kowalski titled “A Deep & Detailed Summary of “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. See link below excerpts.
“Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a ‘secondary rationalization’ of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning. There are some authors who contend that meanings and values are ‘nothing but defense mechanisms, reaction formations and sublimations.’ But as for myself, I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of my ‘defense mechanisms,’ nor would I be ready to die merely for the sake of my ‘reaction formations.’ Man, however, is able to live and even to die for the sake of his ideals and values!“
The more one forgets himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.
“The man who experiences his way of being merely as something totally provisional is no longer taking his life quite seriously. So he is at risk of a kind of life in which he does not actualize the possibilities that are offered to him, but rather he forfeits them: he lets them pass him by. He constantly waits for something, without doing his part to make it happen. He becomes fatalistic. Instead of acting from the consciousness of a responsibility, he has the point of view that he should let things go, laissez aller, and let other people do as they please—laissez faire. He changes from a human subject into a mere object—an object of circumstances, of current conditions, of the moment in history. But he overlooks the fact that in history nothing has already been done—rather, everything is to be done. He overlooks the extent to which current conditions depend on him, the fact that they are creatively shapeable; he forgets that he bears a share of the responsibility.”
“Frankl was once asked to express in one sentence the meaning of his own life. He wrote the response on paper and asked his students to guess what he had written. After some moments of quiet reflection, a student surprised Frankl by saying, ‘The meaning of your life is to help others find the meaning of theirs.’ ‘That was it, exactly,’ Frankl said. ‘Those are the very words I had written.’”
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Topic: Man’s Search for Meaning