Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Man's Search for Meaning

"Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl

This is an old book, one many have read.  It is a powerful book of a man in a holocaust concentration camp who survives only by the hope he carries.  He tells of the atrocious things that happened and how those who survived did so by holding on to hope.  He goes on to write that if man has no meaning he will have no reason for living and such not make it through hardships.  Viktor became, and actually was prior to the war, a psychiatrist.  He helped many people find meaning so that they could overcome.  He goes on to say that in suffering, if we find the meaning, how it will make us stronger and what we can learn from it we can be overcomers. "Disgust, horror and pity are emotions that our spectator could not really feel any more.  The sufferers, the dying and the dead, became such commonplace sights to him after a few weeks of camp life that they could not move him any more."  The prisoners became numb, there was too much suffering and wrongdoing that their brains just could not comprehend and so the emotions get cut off for survival sake.  "When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task.  He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering his is unique and alone in the universe.  No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place.  His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burdens."  How we bear our burdens is the biggest part to this life.  We all have them, we all deal with them differently, but our character shows through in these burdens and who we believe to be in control.  "In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of sacrifice."  A good book on finding meaning in our suffering and gaining perspective.  The end gets very technical, as he goes into the psychology of what he leaned but I did throughly enjoy the first part about his experience in the concentration camp.  

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