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Man's Search For Meaning Mass Market Paperback – Standard Edition, December 1, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the most interesting, and disturbing, issues in the book was the idea of the Capo. These were were people put in charge of their fellow prisoners, in order to keep them in line. Dr. Frankl describes these people as, often, being more harsh than the actual guards. This seems to be a disturbing lesson in the abuse of power. This also goes along with Dr. Frankl's discussion of how the camps brought out the true personality of the people within it (after all the social trapping had been stripped away): The cretins, the saints, and all of those in between.Read more ›
This is a WONDERFUL and INSPIRATIONAL book that I recommend for anyone suffering from any tragic cirucmstance...cancer, death in the family, divorce, etc. All of the phsychiatric nonsense might help (I doubt it), but this book will get you on the right road.
After recounting the horrors of everyday life in a work camp - the initial selection process in which 90% were sent to the gas chambers while 10% were kept to extract the last ounce of work as slaves for construction firms; the Capos selected from the most brutal who had lost all scruples in order to save their life; how everything was subservient to keeping oneself and one's closest friends alive - Viktor Frankl tells of the psychological problems they met.
The most important seems to be the hope of release as shown by the very high death rate in his camp in the week between Christmas 1944 and new year 1945 which had no explanation in food, treatment, weather, disease or working conditions; it was that the majority had lived in the naïve hope that they would be home again by Christmas. In the absence of encouraging news, the prisoners lost courage; disappointment overcame them and their powers of resistance dropped. Frankl noticed that it was the men who comforted others, who gave away their last piece of bread who survived longest and who offered proof that everything can be taken but one thing - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances.
In the camp every decision determined whether or not you would submit to loss of inner freedom. The sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone.Read more ›
My connection to Viktor Frankl dates back to a Hannukah party in which I found myself conversing with a baker who used to deliver his bread. It took me a few more years to discover this absolute gem of a book, itself both bread for the soul and leaven for the mind.
The first half of this book consists of Frankl's reflection on his time in a Nazi concentration camp. "An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior," (p. 18) he notices, "Yet it is possible to practice the art of living even in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent." (p. 43) Distilling the essence of his experience at the hands of the Nazis and the resilience of his soul, he states, "If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering." (p. 67) Finally, he notes that "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." (p. 65)
He segues into the second part of the book, a description of "logotherapy," based on the challenge learned behind barbed wire, downwind from the ovens "Whenever there was an opportunity for it, one had to give them a why--an aim--for their lives, in order to strengthen them to bear the terrible _how_ of their existence." (p. 76)
Frankl states that "Man's search for meaning is a primary force in his life and not a 'secondary rationalization' of instinctual drives." (p. 99) He finds this meaning specific & unique to each individual.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. I started to read it on a plane and couldn't put it down.Published 1 month ago by Kristen
Although Man's Search for Meaning is a well-known book, I had never read it. Viktor Frankl's message is one everyone should take to heart.Published 2 months ago by Janice E. Bosman
It starts with Viktor's time in a concentration camp -- so that gives him instant street cred. Then he moves to taking what he learned there and putting some psychiatry to it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by LawyerLady