Book Reflection: Man's Search for Meaning
It is not every day that we come across someone with such an unlikely intersection of experiences and expertise as the author of this book Viktor E. Frankl. He was a neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, as well as a Holocaust survivor.
The book is divided into two sections: his concentration camp experience and the development of his school of psychotherapy called logotherapy. As the name suggests, the book mainly revolves around the derivation of meaning in the human condition both in his personal life as well as his observation of other people's lives that he encountered.
The book does a wonderful job at igniting thought-provoking realizations throughout each section specifically on suffering, freedom, and self-determination.
I read the book in a span of months so this will be fairly short and I will be pointing out some interesting things that stood out to me. however, this is in no way an adequate representation or summary of the genius in this book:
The book was written more than half a century ago but is very applicable still to this day especially when it comes to "filling the deep void within us".
Even in unimaginable situations like concentration camps, people do not "become" a saint or someone insufferable. Their masks come off and they become more of who they already are.
I had an interesting insight into aging. I was terrified of becoming 20 this year because our society puts so much value on youth and everyone is thus playing a losing game. However, towards the end of this book, the author points out that the older you get, the more meaningful experiences you have solidified, and the more you have bravely undertaken the act of suffering. I found this take very beautiful so now, I am both excited to be relatively younger and older.
"Meaningful does not always mean "Enjoyable". They are not mutually exclusive.
I want to leave some of my quotes from the book:
-"Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning."
- "No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same."
I will forever be in awe of a human who was able to transcend situations that would easily crumble any rational, intelligent, or kind human. Rather, the author actually lives out his theory and was able to create such a meaningful book. I enjoyed this meta-ness.
End Feeling: the book left me feeling grateful that books exist and reminded me of my privilege: to have access to things that exist, and the freedom to enjoy them.
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