Victor Frankl was a Jewish psychotherapist who survived the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. If anyone can talk about the psychology of finding meaning in seemingly meaningless places, it’s him.
During his time in Auschwitz and other camps, Frankl’s breakthrough observation was that the men who had something to live for were most likely to survive the starvation, disease and physical and mental abuse.
As Nietzsche wrote: ‘A man who has a why to live for, can withstand almost any how.’
Frankl uses this breakthrough to explore where we find meaning, and how we can dispel the ‘existential vacuum’ and reach true happiness.
[S]uccess, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.
Man’s Search for Meaning is an incredibly short book, and one that punches well above its weight. In fact, even if you only read 5 pages a day, you can finish the whole book in a month.
So that’s what we’ll do!
All the Days
I’m using the 2004 Rider edition of Man’s Search for Meaning (c) Viktor E. Frankl. Quotations are used under the Fair Use exemption for commentary. Thank you.