Man’s Search for Meaning has been listed by many as one of the most influential books written on meaning and purpose in life. Throughout the book, Viktor Frankl, a neurologist, and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust, describes his experience in Nazi concentration camps and the psychological tools he used to cope with the extreme conditions. Despite the fact that Frankl’s experiences in the concentration camps were incredibly difficult due to the physical and psychological toll that the conditions took on him and his fellow prisoners, Frankl also describes how he was able to maintain his sense of hope and dignity, which he attributes to his belief that there is meaning and purpose to be found in even the most difficult of circumstances.
The message of Man’s Search For Meaning is that the meaning of life can be found through suffering and that the primary human drive is not pleasure, but the search for meaning and purpose. Therefore, Frankl developed a psychological theory called logotherapy, which is based on the idea that the primary human drive is not pleasure, as Freud believed, but the search for meaning and purpose. According to logotherapy, meaning can be found in three different ways: by creating a work or doing a deed, by experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.
Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering in life, but we can choose how to respond to it. By finding meaning in our suffering, we can transcend it and find a deeper sense of fulfillment and purpose. He also emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility and the need to take action in the face of adversity.
The book has been widely read and has been considered a classic in the field of psychology. It offers a unique perspective on the human experience and provides valuable insights into the nature of suffering and the search for meaning.