Man's Search for Meaning

Aug 3, 2013

Man's Search for Meaning cover

Rating: 55

I really enjoyed this book. Frankl was a psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and the founder of logotherapy. Logotherapy is a form of existential analysis that seeks to resolve psychological problems through man’s desire to find meaning in his life. The first half of the book tells the captivating story of Frankl’s struggles from his time in concentration camps, during which he touches on logotherapy. The second half is dedicated to an overview of logotherapy, with plenty of examples of Frankl’s principles applied to real situations.

Notes:

  • There is no universal meaning to life. Life has meaning when examined in a particular situation for a person, since the person can choose how he or she responds.

  • We have the freedom to respond however we wish to situations.

  • Since we have this freedom, we have the responsibility to act in each situation presented to us.

  • You should live life as if you are experiencing it for the second time, and as if you acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now.

  • One can achieve dignity regardless of the situation.

  • Each situation in life provides a problem or a challenge to solve. The meaning in life is how one responds. Thus, one shouldn’t ask “what is the meaning in life?” but instead realize that it is he who is asked by life. Man has the responsibility to answer for his life.

  • Paradoxical intention: in situations where one fears a certain event occurring, often the fear causes the event to be more likely to occur (e.g. being nervous about sweating in front of people makes one more likely to sweat). In this case, paradoxical intention says to intend for the opposite, to take the wind out of fear’s sails (e.g. try to show people how much you can sweat!).

  • One can discover meaning in life thorough:

    • Achievement

    • Experiencing something or someone

    • The attitude one takes towards unavoidable suffering

  • This book, particularly the second half where Fankl dives into Logotherapy, is definitely worth periodically revisiting.

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