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Summarized For Busy People
Based on the Book by Viktor Frankl
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MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THIS BOOK SUMMARY
Experiences in a Concentration Camp
Following Admission: Shock
Day-to-day Life in the Camp: Apathy
Release and Liberation
Logotherapy in a Nutshell
The Will to Meaning
The Existential Vacuum
The Meaning of Life
The Essence of Human Existence
The Meaning of Love
The Meaning of Suffering
Logotherapy as a Technique
The Collective Neurosis
Critique of Pan-Determinism
THE CASE FOR TRAGIC OPTIMISM
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Man’s Search for Meaning cannot be limited to being a book about the Holocaust. Victor Frankl not only shares his darkest experience as a prisoner in some of the harsh event’s most violent camps but also shares his message about his psychological philosophy: there is meaning in everything we do.
His experience as a prisoner of the Holocaust neither simply delineates the horrors that millions of people faced in concentration camps nor focuses on the heroes within the camp who saved themselves from their position, but Frankl’s aim was to show the everyday lives of the prisoners and how they’ve affected and validated his psychological theories. His message about hope and purpose even in the worst situations have been shared abundantly.
Frankl’s psychotherapy, logotherapy, shares how all individuals constantly strive for meaning and many patients with neuroses are caused by a lack of meaning. This is not just something that one discovers, rather, it is something that each individual defines for themselves. This may spill over to the work that one does, to the love they express to others, or to the way in which they endure suffering. Logotherapy focuses on suffering—wherein, even in the worst conditions such as in Auschwitz camp with no freedom, one can find meaning and purpose and through that, they can transcend their human limitations and endure their suffering with dignity and pride.
Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) was an Austrian psychotherapist and philosopher who received his doctorate in medicine from the University of Vienna before the beginning of World War II. Before the way, he provided counseling to high school students in suicide prevention programs.
Upon the beginning of World War II in 1944, he and his family were taken to and separated in Auschwitz. He was then transferred to Kaufering where he was forced to work for five months. During the final days of the war, he tended to the sick in a Nazi rest camp until American soldiers liberated the camp in 1945. Within the camp, he continued helping fellow prisoners against suicide and would occasionally hold sessions in the camp to keep despair away. His wife was killed in a separate camp.
In 1948, he wrote his memoir and manifesto Man’s Search for Meaning. Logotherapy became the third Viennese school of Psychotherapy which focused on an existential analysis in searching for one’s meaning in life. This psychotherapy continues to be practiced today and has inspired other clinical psychology movements. Frankl received his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1948 from his contribution on the relationship of psychology and philosophy.
This book summary serves as a guide to Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. No text of the actual book is included, so if you prefer, you may purchase a copy before you proceed.
This guide includes a summary of Viktor Frankl’s experience in the concentration camps during the Holocaust and his own observations, realizations, and lessons from it. He says that there is meaning in suffering and his book worked towards creating his therapy, Logotherapy.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl has been considered one of the greatest books of our time which talks about the human condition, potential, and purpose. This book, unlike other books about the Holocaust, focuses on individuals’ sources of strength which helped them as they went through the day to day lives in concentration camps.
The way one views life in the camp and life afterward will determine their survival. Some would look forward to life after camp and some would dream of seeing their loved ones again while others would look towards achievements in their professional lives. Nevertheless, those who survived had focused on the meaning there is to their suffering and the way they had handled it on a daily basis.
“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”