Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning is a memoir by Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist. Through his experiences in concentration camps during World War II and his theories on logotherapy, Frankl explores the concept of meaning and the human capacity to find it even in the direst of circumstances.

Frankl argues that, even in the darkest times, the human spirit can find meaning and purpose in life and that this search for meaning is a crucial aspect of our psychological well-being.

An example of the power behind meaning that struck me is how concentration camp death rates rose after Christmas. Many camp prisoners had attached hope and meaning to Christmas, with dreams of spending it with families. Hope diminished when the day came and went by with no change in circumstances. Hope has tremendous power, and its loss directly correlated with the rise in death rates.

Although the book demonstrates the devastating effect that can follow a loss of meaning, it also offers inspiration in how humans are capable of great resilience, hope, and meaning-making. It was, for example, inspiring to read about art and humour that were a part of life in the concentration camps.

In addition to its philosophical insights, Man’s Search for Meaning is profoundly moving. Frankl’s experiences provide a deeply personal perspective on the Holocaust that is both illuminating and heart-wrenching. Ultimately, his accounts prompt readers to reflect on our values and beliefs and strive for a life of meaning.

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