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A Man’s Search for Meaning is about enduring years of the Nazi concentration camps. The holocaust was one of the darkest chapters of human history taught him that the man’s primary motivational force is the search for meaning. Dr. Frankl’s discovery led to the development of the revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy, which is the own version of modern existential analysis. The book shows understanding why and how people can survive and cling to life given such apparently frail or simple reasons as love for one’s children, talent to be used, or even just simple memories.
It redefines human achievement, the will to meaning and logotherapy, and sources of meaning. Frankl recollected on the thoughts that gave him the will to live. The mental images of his wife provided the only light in the dark days of the concentration camp, and there is a beautiful scene when he is thinking of her with such intensity that when a bird hops onto a mound in front of him, it appears to be her living embodiment.
He talked about the men who had given up, that could be recognized by the smoking of their last cigarettes, which could’ve been traded for a scrap of food.
These men decided life held nothing more for them, which Frankl thinks is a terrible mistake. I realized that I have to find the courage to ask what life expects of me, day by day. The task isn’t to survive, but to find the guiding truth specific to me and my situation that can only be revealed during the worst times of my life.
During his experience at the Holocaust, he provided the basis for the development of a new school of psychotherapy, Logotherapy that follows Freud’s psychoanalysis and Adler’s Individual Psychology.
Psychoanalysis requires a person’s introspection and self-centredness to reveal the basis of their neurosis. The logotherapy tries to take the person out of himself or herself and see their life in a broader perspective and sees the prime motivating force in human beings to be a will to meaning. In logotherapy, existential distress is not a mental disease, but a sign that we are becoming more human in the desire for meaning.
He chooses not to see life simply as the satisfaction of drives or instincts, or becoming “well-adjusted” to society, but he believed that the outstanding feature of human beings is their free will. I was inspired with the new school of psychotherapy because it causes man to desire to search for their meaning. It shows the potential that humans can have in the world and how everyone can utilize their own aspects to search for their meaning. Logotherapy sees mental health in the tension between what one is and what one could become.
Frankl notes that the modern person had too much freedom to deal with. We don’t live through instinct, yet tradition is no guide and the existential vacuum, in which the frustrated will to meaning is compensated for in the urge for non-important thing. There are various sources of meaning, such as a classic source. This is defined as “life purpose” in the self-help literature. We shouldn’t seek directly and defines happiness as a by-product of forgetting ourselves in a task that draws on all imagination.
Another sources experiences a legitimate another alternative to achievement in a society built around achieving. Just because we can’t comprehend meaning, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any. Frankl talks about only the unfilfillment of potential is meaningless, not life. Our culture worships the young, yet it is age that is to be admitted, since the older person has loved, suffered and fulfilled so much. The fulfillment of our own potential will make a permanent imprint on the history of the world, and that imprint defines responsibility.
I saw that freedom is only half of the equation, and the other half is the responsibility to act on it. The Man’s search for meaning was a great example on reflection on the negatives and turning them into positives. Through the worst times of Frankl’s life, he was able to make a new school of psychotherapy that talks about how suffering is a part of someone’s life. I was affected about how a man needs to search for meaning for the fulfillment of our own potential. The freedom is only half of the equation, and we need responsibility to act on our freedom.
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