I was inspired to pick this book up from the Jordan Peterson book, 12 Rules for Life.
The author of, Man’s Search… was himself a successful psychologist. Viktor Frankl was already an established psychologist prior to his incarceration under the horrendous NAZI regime, where he was sent to Auschwitz and Dachau amongst other concentration camps.
In this short book, Frankl details day to day life within the ‘camps’ and the horrors that accompanied his time in them. It must be highlighted that this isn’t just the same old regurgitation of the physical horrors within the torture chambers, but more a reflection from a psychological point of view of how people either kept their faith and survived or lost what little faith and the meaning that supported it, and sadly gave way and died.
Frankl also discusses how the inate evil that existed within some of the guards is fundamentally alive in most people at the core level and discusses how, given the required circumstances, these actions may rise to the surface. Such as upon allied liberation of the ‘camps’, many a number of the inmates adopted an attitude similar to that of the guards, now that the roles had been reversed.
The second part of the book, Frankl explains what his theory of Logotherapy actually stands for and how the philosophy behind it can help a person realise their purpose in life by understanding their own meaning, regardless of how brutal their surroundings may be…
For anyone interested in the human psyche and the endless possibilities of the human mind, once given the correct direction, this book is a great starting point. It is full of nuggets of information, which may require further research by the reader, but that in itself makes it appealing.
”…as to the causation of the feeling of meaninglessness, one may say, albeit in an oversimplifying vein, that people have enough to live by but nothing to live for. They have the means - but no meaning…”