Book Review: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

3년 전

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3 stars***

Man’s search for meaning is the non-fiction book by Dr Viktor Frankl, which features sympathetic dark years of victims of WWII in concentration camp. When I first started reading this book, I was willing to drop it down because every time I read it, tortuous sparks ran through my spines thinking what people had to bear that time. I stopped the book and watched a movie ‘Schindler’s list’. The movie centres on how people were killed at that time whereas book, addition to that, focuses more on how people tried to survive. After a movie, I decided to continue the book. This time, every page of the book I read, picture from the movie flashed on my mind.

The message from the book is similar to a book “Veronica decides to die” by Paulo Coelho. More than a novel, I would like to address this book as a diary of a man who was hanging in the middle of life and death and had an uncertain future. Dr Frankl has explained in his diary how brutal Nazis were and how tolerable they were and how their only way of surviving was a hope that one day they would be freed and would meet their loved ones. 'Hope' and 'love' was what I would call “medicine” to keep them alive from what they were going through. Only those who knew there was a task waiting for them to fulfil were most apt to survive but even with surviving, they had suffered from a mental pressure about possibility of bitterness and delusional lives if they were ever going to return to their former lives.

As explained in the book, majority of the people were dead not because of the severe weather condition, lack of proper food and hard work they had to do but because their hope of returning home didn't happen in their expected time. As author quoted ‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way’. The chronic continuous torture but no sign of freedom made their bodies weak and irresistant to disease, and they chose to die.

I heard it from someone long ago that life becomes easier when you have a meaning to live it for. If you look at everyday life, people are always running for something. There is always something and someone in people’s life who they run after and for whose sake they are ready to die. They love something or someone and have hope to achieve that. Dr Viktor Frankl’s eye opening book really made me think about the meaning of my own life. Honestly, I am a kind of person who plans life in advance and try to stick to it no matter what. There may be some delays or disturbance sometimes but things get going. At least that’s what I believe in. Sooner or later you will reach to the life you are longing for. You just shouldn't stop loving and shouldn't lose hope.

I dreamt about what I am doing now long ago. So in a sense, it was my meaning of life at some particular point. You should see life as full of opportunities but these opportunities don’t come themselves. You dream them, create them and love them. When you love them, you see meaning in them. They will be close to you forever and no matter what, you will survive to make them happen.

I think about my life quite a lot. Normally my peers find me different because I have this strange habit of following my dream but if this is the kind of lesson Dr Frankl wants to advocate, I must say I am on right track. When you find the meaning of your life, then only you will enjoy the life, after all, at the end of the day, it comes down to being happy.

My meaning of life is to step my feet across the globe and still prove that I am not tired. I dream about being head of the industry for which I desire to devote my life. I also dream about being a perfect role model for my children. There may be some downtime when things don’t go as you wish and you suffer but you should never give up. Otherwise, all this suffering would have no meaning. In your every suffering, you find some meaning because suffering is one way of learning life. So, moral of the story is: little bit of suffering won’t kill you but will make you stronger. Actually, life without these all would be boring.

You will understand the meaning of your life better if you know that there are two races of men in this world- decent and indecent. You will have to suffer less if you can distinguish them. So finding a meaning is basically, finding something that makes you happy, not bored. I find a meaning when I think that one day in future I will tell my juniors or even my own children or husband - ‘My close friend is working in this field’. I don’t know whether those friends will be Nepalese or German or British or Malaysian or Indian or even Chinese or any other nationality but life would be more interesting with friends from different part of the globe. I dream about me going to different international and national conferences and meet likeminded people in future. We will mainly talk about one single topic at which everyone has majored as if that is the only important thing in this world. I think I will enjoy the most when everyone discusses about what they have discovered new in this topic. I also dream about people typing my name in Google to get huge list of my publications. It would be boring for others but I find meaning in them.

I dream about my co-workers growing up intellectually slowly and steadily under my supervision just like I will see my own children growing up at home. I will probably struggle to manage my work and family time in the beginning but that’s a challenge. Once children are grown up and leave home, I would still have a meaning to live for and something for myself because that's what I love doing and besides, whatever you have experienced, no power on the earth can take from you.

As stated in the book, the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day, from hour to hour. Therefore, more than the meaning of life in general, the specific meaning of the person’s life at the given moment is what it matters. Each situation in man’s life represents a challenge and creates a problem for him to solve. So how will you solve it? The answer is in the book- Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you have acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now.

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Hello @narvac!

I read the book last month. Very well written, the author's experience comes across clearly. It was very sad to read at times, but great read.


Yes indeed. It was a very emotional read.

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