Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mans Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (Review and Analysis)

This was a squidoo lens that I created.  I used a couple of quotes from the book giving credit of course and squidoo said it was duplicate content and unpublished.

Viktor Frankl wrote this book which gave insight into life at a concentration camp. He did it in a way not to expose the travesties, but rather to explain the mental effects these travesties had on the spirit of the inmates. I will freely admit that I have read this book previously and therefore already had a good idea of how the review would go. This book is a pure masterpiece when attempting to decipher how someone going through such terrible circumstances will give up or find a reason to keep going. Like most books I have reviewed this one can be found in your local library, but I personally recommend purchasing this book for your library from amazon.

Man’s Search for Meaning is and probably will be the absolute best thing to come out of the Nazi concentration camps. The main portion of the book revolves around Frankl as he is shuttled from camp from camp. Unlike most books of the same genre Man’s Search for Meaning does much more than simply replay the events as a they happened, but rather takes you through the mental thoughts of on educated prisoner as he sees what happens to him self and other prisoners down to their core. There is of course much to learn about the physical travesties, but one is unable to understand the effects unless witnessed by someone who lived through them.

The book spans across four different camps each with their perks and downfalls. As Frankl explains in the book there is perks to be had in even the most dire places. One such example was a camp which he arrived that only housed those able to work which meant no human ovens. As the book moves along he explains in much detail the desensitization one goes though after continually watching ones friends continually beat. He also does an extraordinary job of giving us a picture that so few have and will ever witness. One of the most heart breaking things I found with the book is the prisoners death of will. This to me hit extremely hard thinking about someones ability to die simply because they could not see a reason to live. A person would be doing well, but if anything happened which disintegrated the persons meaning or will to live it was a death sentence.

The plot was broken down into three separate experiences felt by the prisoners. The first was shock which to me would be an ordinary reaction to such human degradation and suffering. The second phase which lasted after a few weeks of shock was apathy. This is explained by Frankl to be the total loss or at least the suppression of emotion from watching horrible things. He explains watching a child of 12 die and not being able to feel much of anything since it was such a common occurrence. The final experience a prisoner felt was when release though only 1 and 28 who entered the camps felt. The experience was of course debilitating and there were many issues once someone who had survived years of pure torture then having it lifted.

The final part of the book is the therapy Viktor Frankl created which was a spin off of Freuds Psychoanalysis. He called the therapy Logotherapy and takes an emphasis off of uncontrollable circumstances and more on having a man find a meaning for his own existence.



This book after reading many philosophical and psychological books is by far the best. I truly believe this book and the theories within have saved thousands if not millions of people. I can’t really say there was absolutely nothing wrong with the book since no matter what the piece is there has to be a flaw. The only two things I struggled with is the shortness of the book and some of the technical aspects of the therapy Frankl introduces. Since this review has to do with the content the book brings to the table I must say I doubt there is many life changes books like this one.

The writing is from a psychiatrist, but after reading Freuds, Jungs, and others I find it uses a language which is quite easy to understand and is readable by everyone. He does this without loosing the ability to explain any instance in a psychological and intellectual way. This is extremely rare letting the book become readable by anyone and at the same time containing the size of ideas he places within. The only part of the book an average reader would struggle with is when Frankl breaks away from his experiences and dives into the theory he has created.

One notion remains within his work and that is you can not group everyone together. Each man no matter what is his own individual. I find that he has much more room to speak than many since when discussing this thought he brings up the fact that not all SS guards were savage and their were some prisoners who were more savage than any SS guard. It may be easy to say that we should kill every nazi, but as Frankl explains not all are equal. He explains to the officers it was much easier to be cruel then to show any kindness whatsoever. He brought forth as well the fact that select prisoners had the same exact capacity to inflict any torture the people holding them captive had.

I believe that after reading this book if you haven’t yet will allow you into human nature deeper than before. There is nothing in written human history which has had the impact of the Holocaust and being led by Frankl will allow you to have an understanding which only a survivor could give. The only experience of complete destruction of liberty and dehumanization I can think of is the history of Slavery.

Below this review are Frankls words to sum up his book and I fully believe this encapsulates the ideas Frankl attempted to cover within his book.

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