Book Review: Man’s Search For Meaning


Book Review: Man’s Search For Meaning

Author: Victor E. Frankl

By: Baari Baloch


Man’s Search For Meaning” is a journey that keeps alive the drive to reach your destination, the ultimate destination, the ultimate goal, the ultimate search and the journey itself. It establishes to bring forward the concept pioneered as ‘logotherapy’ by Dr. Victor. The book is a must read, which perhaps brings forth the most significant thinking since Freud and Adler. After reading this, there should be a positive social psychological discussion on highlighting the sufferings of prisoners in concentration camp.


This book, a masterpiece, is a true story of a man who survived the death camp during World War-II from 1939-1945 at Auschwitz and Dachau comes to an end. The writer discusses the suffering and atrocities of a prisoner that he faces in a concentration camp from cold, hunger, hourly extortion, extremely stressful and life-threatening conditions for a long time. He compares the prisoner, who loses hope to have no meaning in their lives, with the prisoner who finds meaning in his life. Because he believes that a man can bear worse conditions if he or she has a meaning in their life. Dr. Frankl discusses different conditions a prisoner experiences during such a camp life and after his liberation.

The author recalls how, after getting off the train that had brought them to a death camp, the men and women were stripped from their belonging and then separated into two lines of men and women. In such conditions, they were shocked (their first phase) and unaware of that what they were going to face. Any action of this newly prisoner was going to decide their fate in camp life.


After a few days of gathering with other prisoners and working hard for appointed jobs by capos in extreme conditions, such as in winter, prisoners were kept in cold mud shelters with insufficient clothes and torn shoes to warm their bodies. They were fed with small bread and watery soup without proper nourishment. Their body started to devour themselves making it harder for them to survive in concentration camps. To avoid these hurdles, they tried to attempt to commit suicide in the second phase of the camp.


You must know about logotherapy to understand the third phase. The term logotherapy is derived from the Greek word logos which means the primary drive in life is not pleasure, as he suffers from the psychology of the prisoner.


To find and discover what is personally meaningful for us, we are to discuss the NOO-Dynamic and Nietzsche: “The one who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Dr believes rather than having homeostasis and a tensionless state, man needs a striving and struggling state for potential meaning.


At last, he explained how a prisoner reacts after his recovery. After the liberation, it is a very hard time for him to overcome all the apathy and forget all circumstances he faced in the camp life. Frankl shared his experience as an example that after getting free from the camp, he walked through the country part flowering meadows for miles and miles. He saw and realised they did not have feeling. These lines represent that prisoner had lost the ability to feel joy and now needs to learn these ability gradually.


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