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Man's Search For Meaning


Viktor E. Frankl

Man's Search For Meaning
average rating is 5 out of 5

Non-fiction, Self-help, Psychological, War, Extreme

R. Alex Jenkins

This is an essential read for so many reasons, not just because of morbid fascinations with concentration camps or Nazi brutality.

Even though the contents are morbid and disturbing, the esteemed author never gets judgemental or bitter about his plight, but instead decides to focus on facts and practicality.

Most of us would have given up and never made it out alive, but dear Viktor decided to see the positives even when there were none, by imagining reunions with his wife on death marches, by understanding that the Nazis could never take away his dignity or inner light, no matter what.

The facts are astonishing. Sometimes when I make dinner for my children I joke about ladling the soup from the bottom of the bowl to get the peas - I don't know why - maybe to make them appreciate my effort more? I sometimes think about the prisoner who never smokes his last cigarette - why would you do that - it's far too valuable, observing that it's the last day of life when you see someone doing it. It's heartbreaking that life comes down to a quick smoke before death.

I still can't believe people were subjected to that and I still can't fathom how amazing Viktor pushed himself through it when I and everyone else would have given up. You have to be a real human being to do that, to empathise and not feel sorry for yourself. It takes superhuman courage that is beyond most of us.

The second half of the book is focused on a type of psychotherapy called logotherapy, developed by Frankl himself, to emphasise that there must be a reason for everything we do, that there is a reason for suffering, that it's not in vain and it's worth surviving no matter what. I have felt suicidal at times and yet here I still am, alive and kicking. Perhaps this book helped me survive when I might have given up?

Thank you dear Viktor for surviving and telling your story and making life seem a little more worthwhile. Yes, the book is dark and depressing, but that's because of how bright the light is on the other side. Sometimes we forget that.

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