Why You Should Read Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning”

Why You Should Read Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning”

Jacobus Erasmus, 01 Sep 2023

Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist who was captured during World War II and imprisoned in Auschwitz and other concentration camps for about three years. It was a miracle he survived and was released, and in his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, he recounts his experience as a prisoner. But why should you read his book?

Imagine being separated from your loved ones, knowing that they could very well be on their way to a deadly gas chamber. Imagine being forced to live off of one daily meal of watery soup, and to wear tattered and uncomfortable clothing, and to do physical labour out in the bitter cold for the entire day, every day, and to be stripped of your dignity and treated as sub-human. Imagine seeing fellow prisoners die around you while you wonder when you’re next.

Well, this was Viktor Frankl’s experience. But he survived, and found happiness again, and used his experience to better understand human psychology in suffering. He writes about all of this in Man’s Search For Meaning, a book worth reading for at least three reasons.

First, through the eyes of a Holocaust survivor, the book reminds us about a significant event in history – and it’s crucial for us to remember such historical events because, if we forget them, then we’re more likely to repeat them.

Second, the book makes you appreciate, and feel grateful for, what you do have. When you see how the Auschwitz prisoners were stripped of everything, then the good things in your life, however small or insignificant, begin to shine like treasure.

Finally, Frankl teaches us the importance of finding meaning in our lives and even in suffering. His discussion on logotherapy (a therapy that aims to motivate a person to find meaning) is enlightening and worth the read.

So, I highly recommend the book, which you can get in South Africa from here: https://kazbooks.co.za/product/?n=Man%26%23039%3Bs+Search+For+Meaning&p=1949