Brief Book Review – “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl
By far, this has been the most enjoyable and most meaningful book regarding psychology that I have ever read. Throughout the book, I was amazed to read what Viktor and his comrades and enemies had endured in the Nazi camps during World War II. His insights of mankind that he took into and away from those experiences are indispensable and profound. I made a point to share some of my favorite quotes from the book on social media as I was reading this book. A few of my favorites towards the end of the book are as follows:
In regards to the notion that the elderly envy the young and the young pity the elderly,
“Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy.”
On the pursuit of pleasure as a main goal,
“Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself.”
Concerning how to live one’s life,
“Live as if you were living for the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now.”
And in the afterword, .. writes about Frankl’s view on attitude,
“A positive attitude enables a person to endure suffering and disappointment as well as enhance enjoyment and satisfaction. A negative attitude intensifies pain and deepens disappointments; it undermines and diminishes pleasure, happiness, and satisfaction; it may even lead to depression or physical illness.”
I also very much enjoyed how Frankl covers he much American trend of being unhappy and ashamed of being unhappy. Frankl teaches you to look for the meaning of your suffering, if you must be subjected to such suffering. Instead of looking at unhappiness as an illness, look upon it as a means to a meaningful end.
A huge part of what Frankl is saying in this book, and the biggest lesson I learned from it is that there is no logic in trying to define life in general as having a profound meaning; however, one’s own life should be spent finding the meaning in your own journey, and taking the good and the bad together, and being proud of both, as necessary parts to living a complete and fulfilling life.
I now have an interest in learning more about logotherapy, the psychiatric method that Frankl helped to pioneer and give legitimacy to.
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