Man’s Search for Meaning
In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy”, Viktor Frankl stated that the only thing that kept him going while he was in the concentration camp is his love for his wife. He said that he was able to endure his sufferings by merely contemplating about his wife, though he was not aware whether she was still alive. Throughout his hardships he imagined conversing with his wife. This supports Part 1 of his interview, wherein he says that during difficult times of one’s life, it is essential that there is something that one looks forward to in the future. In his case, it was his wife whom he treasured most and would want to meet again sometime in the future. There should be that question of for whom or for what does one want to survive.
Frankl talked about the relationship of free will and human dignity in his book. He believes that no matter what the nature of the surroundings of a man is, he still has a choice with regards to his behavior. A person may be in a concentration camp where he is subjected to psychological and physical stress but he still has the last of his human freedom, that is, to choose one’s attitude under the circumstance. A man can still remain dignified and unselfish. Spiritual freedom still remains in the face of difficult situations. His behavior will still be the result of his inner decision and not the harsh surroundings he is in.
Based on Part 2 of the interview, Frankl emphasized that one can only gain true happiness if he does not focus solely on himself, but instead, he should care for someone else. This is what he calls as “self-transcendence”, which is removing the focus on oneself, rather, being more concerned with another person’s welfare. Frankl contradicts the beliefs of other psychologists who believe that the most important thing is one’s happiness and satisfaction. Happiness, according to Frankl is not pursued, rather, it is a by-product of being able to care for another and putting aside one’s welfare.
Frankl, V. E. (1963). Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy. New York, New York: Pocket Books.
Frankl, V. E. (1977). Man Alive (1 of 2).
Frankl, V. E. (1977). Man Alive (2 of 2).