“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”
Just finished listening to this remarkable book on audible. I am sure that I will be reading this again in future so I bought myself a hard copy as well. Review below. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Victor E. Frankl, psychologist and survivor of Aushwitz concentration camp, explores man’s search for meaning in life in this well-known book. In the first half of the book, he describes some of the horrors he faced at the concentration camps. He tries to demonstrate that the people who had a rich inner life were able to find a meaning in their suffering at the camps and consequently, were able to endure the camp’s atrocities in a more dignified way than those who lacked this perspective. The author himself found meaning in his suffering by connecting with his wife internally and by imagining himself lecturing to a room full of audience about the psychological observations he had made at the concentration camps. Suddenly, his stay at the camp became something that was filled with meaning and purpose to him, which in turn, kept alive his desire to live.
The second half of the book describes logo therapy, a counseling philosophy that the author came up with based on his experiences at the camp. There were a few interesting things in here like, for example, how to treat anticipatory anxiety, which is a very common form of anxiety. .
The author argues that the meaning of life changes from moment to moment and from person to person. He says that searching for meaning in life is kind of like watching a movie. The meaning of the movie cannot be derived by watching a single scene. One has to watch the entire movie up until the end, at which point the full meaning of the movie is revealed. Truly fascinating!
Overall, this is a profound read. One whose content cannot fully be digested in a single reading. If you enjoy pondering on the bigger philosophical questions like I do, then you may enjoy this book.