Man's Search for Meaning short summary & analysis

Man's Search for Meaning


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Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl


Man's Search for Meaning Analysis

Viktor E. Frankl developed Logotherapy based on what he has experienced and witnessed during his detention at the Auschwitz concentration camp, one of the worst happenings in history. This theory, based entirely on real experiences, is inspired by the concentration camp, which is a small prototype of our world, which we live in and is full of both physical and spiritual suffering, the only one we can control, and from time to time remain vulnerable to outsiders. When our lives are flowing so fast and so many things happen to us, “what makes us human?” “What makes life live?” It is obvious that it is a book that answers our questions. Under conditions that we cannot even imagine, a human beings are tightly connected to life by protecting and exalting the ego from all external damages, it is a book that I can offer to all those who want to testify to the fact that they perceive the camp they live in as part of its camp as part of its existence and to testify to all the imprisonment that they do not compromise their spiritual freedom despite the punishments.

Man's Search for Meaning Short Summary

The first chapter of Man's Search for Meaning was created from Collecting Camp Experiences. In this episode, Victor Frankl tells us about the psychology of the prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp. For those who have come back from the camp with a very striking expression: “These detainees were prepared to resort to any means of cruelty, theft, or betrayal, whether they were honest or not. With the help of many lucky events or miracles, we know that we have succeeded in returning: Our best ones have not returned.”

Leaving behind their family, friends, relatives, all the things they have done to this day, all those who left their roots tried to survive in the camps full of gas chambers and crematoriums where life depends on cotton yarn. Frankl expressed that he could get used to everything as Dostoyevsky said, but he emphasized how this should not be asked.

The detainees now adapt to both physical and spiritual suffering in these camps, which are now far away from their old lives and in those camps with facilities far below the conditions where a person can live. The first phase includes the shock response. This is similar to the illusion of forgiveness in psychiatry. Immediately before the they imprisoned and tried to be executed, they gets the illusion that they can be forgiven at the last minute.

The second phase is the stage of subduction. In other words, the person blows their emotions and emotions that they cannot afford to feel. Thus, it occupies itself with a very necessary and protective shell.

Since it was almost impossible to meet all kinds of needs in the camp, individuals were trying to manage the situation with instant mental satisfaction. It was dangerous because the instant spiritual pleasures of eating dreams contained physically rich stimulants. Sexual deviation was almost never observed. Many of the detainees were so focused on saving their own skin as the expression of primitive life, which was pushed aside from everything that did not serve this purpose. While physical damage was so severe, there was less moral damage to individuals who saw the camp process as part of their existence. They were able to cut themselves off from the horrible pain of the outside and protect themselves in their inner world with spiritual freedom. Their loved ones did not need to know what they had lived. No one could touch their dreams about them.

At the same time, all the detainees, who were once a man, were now treated as never before and they were developing a kind of inferiority complex. Even if the responses to certain physical conditions are more or less understood, we can think of how the person will be if he is firmly attached to his inner value, as a result of an internal decision, not the effects of camping alone. The consciousness of one's inner value is tightly bound to basic things, but how could it be realized under the conditions of the camp, even though this could not be fully achieved even in free life.

According to Frankl, pain is also part of life and at least as meaningful as life itself. It is important to turn a personal tragedy into a victory and to face a human potential. When painful meaning is no longer suffering. The basic occupation of man should not be to take pleasure or to avoid suffering, but to find a meaning in life that includes all of them. Pleasure is a by-product or effect; it must remain. As logotherapy argues, evaluating the moments of pain in life as a temporary existence means a break with life. We must not ignore the opportunity for spiritual development in the suffering and should not underestimate our lives as if it was meaningless. “Life is like going to a dentist. You believe that every moment is worse than it is, yet it's already over.”