“Live as if you were living for the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now.” These are some of the wise words that have lingered with me after reading this profound book of wisdom and insight into human life. Divided into two distinct parts, Man’s Search for Meaning, gives testimony in part 1 to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. From the harshness of life in German concentration camps in World War II, which Viktor E. Frankel endured for three agonizing years, we learn about those few who survived through their strength of character by adamantly refusing to succumb to the degeneracy and malevolence of camp life, and by discovering the meaning in their lives through their desire to see love ones again. This first part of Man’s Search for Meaning reminded me very much of Alexander Solzhenitsyn‘s description of the Soviet forced labor camps in his renowned books, The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. In the second part, Frankel introduces the concept of logotherapy (‘meaning therapy’) as a tool for psychological healing and development derived from his experiences in the concentration camps. Through of series of real-life examples and anecdotes he elucidates how striving to find meaning in life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force for an individual. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who feels lost in their life and in need of direction. Although it is a short tome, coming in at just 150 odd pages, I would recommend reading Man’s Search for Meaning piecemeal, so that you have sufficient time to absorb, process and reflect on each nugget of wisdom that Frankel shares.
Have you read Man’s Search for Meaning? or any of Viktor Frankel’s other works? What are your thougts after reading it? What did you find most insightful about it? Thanks as always for stopping by! Please feel free to share your thoughts or reactions in a comment below. Also, if you would like to receive more updates about my writing please consider joining my newsletter mailing list by subscribing below.