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Man's Search For Meaning

Essay by   •  November 8, 2010  •  998 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,681 Views

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In Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl describes his revolutionary type of psychotherapy. He calls this therapy, logotherapy, from the Greek word "logos", which denotes meaning. This is centered on man's primary motivation of his search for meaning. To Frankl, finding meaning in life is a stronger force than any subconscious drive. He draws from his own experiences in a Nazi concentration camp to create and support this philosophy of man's existence.

Frankl endured much suffering during his time in the concentration camp. All of his possessions were taken away, including his manuscript in which he recorded all of his life's work. He went through rough manual labor, marching through freezing temperatures, and little or no food. To add to this, he didn't even know if his wife was alive or if she had been killed when they were separated. However, throughout all this, Frankl was able to keep his hopes alive, and still care for his fellow man. This is due to his philosophy of person. He figured that the key to surviving in those horrible conditions was to find a meaning in his life. Once there is a meaning to live for, there will be a will to live.

Finding a meaning in life is the most important thing according to Frankl. This is the core of his philosophy, and claims that it is the core of human existence. In his view, anything can attribute to be something to live for. Love is perhaps the strongest motivation, but even someone can even find fulfillment in his profession. According to logotherapy, we can find meaning in three ways. Man can either create a work or do a good deed, experience something or encountering someone, or by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering can we discover a meaning in life.

Love according to Frankl is the only way to fully understand another human being completely. You can't be aware of the essence of another person unless you love them. Love becomes one of the strongest drives for human meaning. Frankl believes love is more than just a sexual drive as some psychologists make it out to be. It is something that all, or at least most, humans search for. It is a fact that all humans need contact with other people. It was the love for his wife, among other things, that helped Frankl survive his years in the concentration camp.

Through Frankl's view of suicide you can discover his view of human person. Suicide is wrong in all cases, and should not be even considered an option. He believes that all people can find some meaning in life which would prevent them from giving up all hope and ending their lives. Every human life has meaning, and therefore every human life has value. While in a concentration camp serving as a doctor to those who were ill with typhus or other diseases, he encountered two individuals who had given up hope on life. He asked them both to think of something worth living for. One answered that he had a son waiting for him at home, and the other said he was writing a book and wanted to finish it. Frankl helped them find meaning in their lives to hold on to some hope. Just as they did, anyone can find a meaning to live for, whether it be another person or a goal or achievement.

I believe Frankl's

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