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Man's Search for Meaning Paperback – June 1, 2006
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One of the great books of our time. —Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
"One of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years."—Carl R. Rogers (1959)
"An enduring work of survival literature." —New York Times
"An accessible edition of the enduring classic. The spiritual account of the Holocaust and the description of logotherapy meets generations' need for hope."—Donna O. Dziedzic (PLA) AAUP Best of the Best Program
About the Author
Viktor E. Frankl was professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School until his death in 1997. His twenty-nine books have been translated into twenty-one languages. During World War II, he spent three years in Auschwitz, Dachau, and other concentration camps.
Harold S. Kushner is rabbi emeritus at Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts, and the author of bestselling books including When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Living a Life That Matters, and When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough.
William J. Winslade is a philosopher, lawyer, and psychoanalyst who teaches psychiatry, medical ethics, and medical jurisprudence at the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston.
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Perhaps the real question is if there is *any* reward for enduring the brutality of life that is worth the suffering. Most, if not virtually all, love relationships are based on a thinly or not-so thinly disguised basis of psychology mercantilism, if not outright economic dealmaking. Other higher pursuits: art, philosophy, philanthropy, so-called spiritual attainment are arguably better, but, really, are little more than panaceas not much different, in their ultimate purpose, than devoting one's life to developing the perfect tennis game, for instance. They absorb one's attention and distract one's focus from the pain & dissolution to come, or even occuring, & keep one, perhaps, from ending it all at the very moment. In this manner, we all buoy each other up, but for what? The question remains unanswered. Life is a concentration camp and we are all going to the gas chamber in the end. What do we do in the meantime. Is it worth it?
Frankl, like any reasonably intelligent person, delineates the central problem well: Why live? But like every other professional philosopher or psychologist, he comes up with a reason (altho in this case the reason boils down to *find a reason*) because, well, what else is he going to do? The biological imperative compels us to go on with life at any price. The alternative: that there is no reason to do so--that is simply too terrifying to contemplate, would violate species survival, and be considered unpublishable. Just once I'd like to see a thinker have the courage to face the ultimate question and not flinch, escape to a flight of fancy, take a leap of *faith* or otherwise dissemble.
Life is not worth living. Don't blink.
Frankl left Theresienstadt on October 19, 1944 and arrived at the Dachau sub-camp Kaufering III on October 25, 1944. How then did he come to write his stories of Auschwitz? One cannot avoid concluding that he simply made the stories up. One could also have determined this from Frankl's story of seeing large flames coming out of the Auschwitz crematorium chimneys - a technical impossibility for such installations.
One can even identify Frankl's transport from Theresienstadt. But the Auschwitz Chronicle of Danuta Czech gives the following account of his train:
"October 20: 1,500 Jewish men, women, and children are sent in an RSHA transport from the ghetto in Theresienstadt. After the selection, 169 women are admitted to the transit camp and 173 men as prisoners to the camp. The men receive Nos. B-13307-B-13479. The remaining 1,158 people are killed in the gas chamber of Crematorium III."
Frankl did not receive a number at Auschwitz. According to Danuta Czech's reasoning, which is followed by all the standard histories of Auschwitz, this implies that he was gassed. In reality, he merely stopped at Auschwitz on his way to Kaufering III. Therefore Frankl's real story disproves the story of extermination camp Auschwitz!
As for Frankl's philosophy, it amounts to a ponderous meditation on one of Nietzsche's epigrams. Its fame is principally due to the intrigue of the Auschwitz story, which turns out to be fundamentally false.
Most recent customer reviews
This is one of those books that everyone should read similar to; Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse), Letters to a Young Poet (R. M.Read more