Here I’ll be giving a summary of a very popular classic book “Man’s Searching For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. This is no ordinary book but a life experience of a person who survived the Nazi concentration camps. It is about finding answer to the most important question “What is the meaning of life?”.
Viktor Frankl was put in Nazi concentration camp during world war 2. Separated from his friends and family and without any hope of getting alive of the concentration camp. He didn’t even knew if his family was safe. The condition of the concentration camp was too bad to be considered as livable.
In such condition living as a prisoner our author tries to find answer to the questions
“What is meaning of life?”
“Why are we here?”
But what is the point in finding answer to such questions. Even if you find answers does it make any difference?
Viktor found that other prisoner were able to figure out who is going to die just by looking at their attitude. prisoner would usually talk about things they would do when they leave the concentration camp e.g. Living with their friends and families. But when such prisoner would stop talking such things and were depressed and didn’t find meaning in life they would give up get weak and sick and then die.
For such people answer to the meaning of life is very crucial. Similarly there are people who gets stuck in wrong profession because they have no interest. When people find no meaning in the work they do. They start questioning their existence and with no answer to the question “why they are here?” they get depressed and sad.
But for the same people if they know “Why they are doing?” What they are doing then they can fight any hurdles and make any how to their goals.
Viktor says once you figure out your “Why?”, you will be able to bear almost any “how?”.
Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.
Author was living in a very bad condition but he did lose control and went mad because of his his attitude. He says at any point in any situation no matter how bad or good there is one thing that we can always control that is our attitude towards the situation.
Viktor says there is no single meaning to life. It is not the life that has the meaning we as humans are responsible for giving meaning to our lives.
But How?.. For this Viktor Says there are 3 ways –
Viktor saw that the prisioners who thought about their work their chance of survival increased. So we just need to find what is that work that gives meaning to our life. We should feel that the work that we do is actually important and the worlds needs it.
Viktor also found hope in love and the image of his wife helped him survive many of the difficult times. So we can also find meaning in our life by contributing to the people we love. e.g. Maybe support your partner in reaching their potential like completing their education or their dreams.
Maybe you wont find the work that gives meaning to your life. Maybe you wont find the love. But one thing is guaranteed in life “Suffering” and Viktor found his meaning in suffering. Viktor used his suffering to become a better person. So when you find suffering in your life see what you can learn from it and what meaning you can give to your suffering.