Highest Recommendation, my utter highest recommendation I give to this book.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl.
“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”
“The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life.”
A treasure among the bookstore, Man’s search for Meaning is truly a needed read.
Psychiatrist, Viktor E. Frankl’s book is about life in Nazi death camps, and how he and his fellow prisoners survived in the midst of intense suffering is awe inspiring. This book is more concerned with how he himself dealt with the suffering and his fellow prisoners. The focus is not on the actual suffering even though parts are included, it is more about the will to make it through the suffering and survive.
While in the camp, Frankl never stopped thinking about his profession and what he could learn while observing others and how they responded in their own life to the amount of pain and hopelessness surrounding them at every corner.
Frankl, emerged a free man eventually and with it he created another way of therapy known as logotherapy, it is a conviction that the primary human force is not pleasure as Freud believed, but the pursuit of what we find to be meaningful.
The book goes through the journey of Frankl’s time in the concentration camps and his time after being released; how he dealt with it and how his fellow survivors did as well. He also spends some time discussing what logotherarpy is in greater detail and how he implemented it in his work.
I came upon this book accidentally, I typed in something on Google. I think it was university required reading and this is the book that peaked my interests.
Psychiatric study has always been fascinating to me. The why of behavior is so important. There are many factors for this fascination.
My father was a person who liked to know why people behaved the way they do and why they are that way. He was also trained in personality testing.
Environment, experiences, values, upbringing; these change parts of you but it is not what defines the core personhood of your personality.
From a young age when I would be angry with another kid for their behavior or disappointed in them, by father would say, “Well, let us look at this situation from their perspective.”
Annoying to say the least but over time it gave me a great love for discovering the motive for the actions. Which may be the reason for my over analysis of everything.
My father also taught a World Views class. After studying the way we acquire knowledge rather it be through passed down information, studying a book of a famous person who was all knowledgeable or other ways we learn. When I would come home to tell him a story or something else, his first response was, “Where did you acquire this knowledge?”
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I had a rather interesting childhood. And very interesting conversations from a young age.
My father had many things he wanted to teach us I am sure but the one I feel was most important to him, was not about us knowing he loved us or about us thinking we were the best thing that had ever happened to him. I believe he was more concerned with making us less self-absorbed and to understand other humans and give them the benefit of the doubt.
As an avid television viewer, my favorite part of any series is the back story. How they became who they are? What made them become a bad guy? Or why they have daddy issues? Almost every hero has daddy issues? Luke Skywalker, Jason Bourne, Indiana Jones, Batman, Katniss Everdeen, the list will never end.
It makes for great story, and conflict is the central part of any story and family conflict makes it even closer to home and more entertaining.
Flash back episodes are my all-time favorite. In House M.D. when we get to understand what happened with his leg and how he got his limp. In Everwood what was happening before their mother was killed in the accident. Lost was the king in this; every episode we would have flashbacks of the characters previous lives before they were deserted on the island.
Attending Bible school and taking classes on dealing with past trauma, inner vows, hurts, places our hearts needed to heal, it gave me even more insight into the working minds of human thoughts and actions, besides my own.
Not everything you need healing from is because of a particular event in your life. In trauma it is normally the case of a specific event. But in other heart healings (is what I like to call them) it could be your own doing or someone else hurting you.
One of my college professors said, “You are either the one being mistreated or you are mistreating someone.”
Frankl said it as such, “During this psychological phase one observed that people with natures of a more primitive kind could not escape the influences of the brutality which had surrounded them in camp life. Now, being free, they thought they could use their freedom licentiously and ruthlessly. The only thing that had changed for them was that they were now the oppressors instead of the oppressed. They became instigators, not objects, of willful force and injustice. They justified their behavior by their own terrible experiences.
Only slowly could these men be guided back to the commonplace truth that no one has the right to do wrong, not even if wrong has been done to them.”
But many times, when we search the past we find the reasoning for why we do something. Why this particular sensitivity has nothing to do with the matter at hand. How many times have you been with a friend and they overreacted about something that should be minuscule? When you ask them later there is normally a reason for this sensitivity.
An example, when I was fourteen, I had a puppy and we would leave the house for a little while everyday so she could be given the time to be alone and get used to us not being with her every moment of the day. Also, to see what she would do in the house if left alone. We were gone for maybe an hour or so and when we returned I heard her whining loudly. We had only just moved in and being the curious puppy she was, she jumped into a box we had left out and got stuck in this box. We rescued her quickly but she never forgot being stuck in that box. If we even accidentally shut a bedroom door on her and she couldn’t get out she would precede to tear everything up in the room and dig the door to death.
If we understand why they are acting this way we have much more compassion and don’t only say, “That is silly! and Get over it.”
After attending this school, and going through my own healing and helping others with their healing; I have a love and tiny bit of understanding of how and why people react a certain way.
Strangely enough, I may have been the only 12-year-old who loved watching this show. It was fascinating to me the analyzing and over analyzing of everything. Explaining and observing human behavior.
This is the conclusion to me building my case why this book was such a unique find to me. And a book I have already read more than once.
Journey of reading a Book,
which has the ability to make you change.
Reading this book, even though it is a merely 165 pages it took me much longer than a few hours to read.
At parts, it is challenging to read, with his knowledge and intellect well above my own.
Another reason for the slow read is: it needed time.
The book was an experience, all books, if they are good should be an experience but this one was a heart experience and could only be read with breaks in between. It took me a little over a week to complete it. After much highlighting, writing in the margins and constantly talking to others about how this book was amazing and everyone should have to read it.
I am mostly a fiction writer but ideas I was already thinking of for certain characters and the reason they are the way they are, this book gave me more research and information. It is important to read all kinds of books because they truly help you become a better writer.
Many, many books have touched me in a way where the effects of the book stay with me for long time.
The Living word of God.
Jesus and the God of Israel by Richard Bauckham
And this book.
The difference with these books is they bring you closer to Jesus and direct your gaze towards him.
What I learned.
Many, many things.
Giving all the treasures in this book are not possible and the reality in my purpose is to make you read this book. Please read it. READ IT. 🙂
One of my big take aways from this book is we are all going to suffer. It is part of life, an unpleasant one but we will all suffer. Frankl biggest conclusion he is making in this book is finding meaning in your suffering. It is like finding perspective in your current situation.
It reminds me of what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. (NIV)
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Also, read Hebrews 12 it is one of my all time favorite passages in the Bible.
We look to the future, we realize this life, the disappointments, the injustice, the suffering of a human body and pain is only for a moment and not forever.
Frankl did this with thinking of his wife and loving her again and the prospect of lecturing on the psychological lessons he learned during his time in Auschwitz.
Let us in the times of suffering, look to Jesus the one who suffered and was perfect.
Read this book.
I have always said there are a few things I think every human should have to do to live in society,
One: Go to another country, experience their culture and their way of living,
Two: Be a waiter for a while.
And now, three: Read this book.
CALL TO ACTION
Read this book. Just Read it.
Let me know what you think? It has been around for years and still it is a book universities require their students to read.
Therefore, read it, your education is never really over.
I leave you a few more quotes from Frankl, to entice you to read the book,
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms, to choose ones attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.
Man’s aptitude to good or evil.
Man has both potentials to within himself ; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.
What do you think? Is suffering a part of life? How do you respond in the suffering in your life? Have you read this book? Will you read it now?