In this episode, Owen explores the masterpiece that is ‘A Man’s search for meaning’. He extracts what he believes to be were the most important insights of the book and reveals why Viktor Frankl has made such an impact on the world. Here are some bullets that will remind you of the key ideas after you’ve listened to the episode.
Frankl’s book has been read to more than 12 million in over 24 languages. He was a psychiatrist head of neurology in Vienna hospital. He got a US visa in 1942 to leave but elected to stay because his parents were still at home. His parents, brother and pregnant wife all died while interned at the camp.
He wrote the book over 9 Days in a row in 1945 to help others find a meaning for their lives.
Part One and Part Two. Part one his experiences. Part two his insights.
Life is search for meaning not happiness
Work, Love and Courage through suffering
Don’t aim at success… the more you aim at it, the more you miss it.
It will happen as a side effect of doing what you love or doing good
PSYCHOLOGY OF CAMP
Despite Vitamin Deficiency, Not clean teeth, Healthy gums, Light Sleeper can sleep… still ok.
We can get used to anything
Promised himself the first night not run into the wire. Other forms of death not too bad when compared to suicide.
An Abnormal reaction to abnormal situation is normal
Beating… most painful part insult they imply
Reality dimmed and all emotions focused on surviving and helping others do so
When they had a Nightmare he didn’t wake up comrade. Couldn’t be worse than reality
Art and Beauty appreciated more
Inferiority complex… treated like nobodies
Irritability from sleep and food deprivation
Uncertainty of release
Guards… sadists, selected, sensitivity dulled, some nice
Learn to feel pleased again when free
Depersonalization. Body made better use of freedom
Clung to Wife’s image: salvation of man is through love and in love
People do have choice of action… proven
Last of the human freedoms… own ability to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances
Dostoevski ‘ There is only one thing that I dread; not to be worthy of my sufferings’
Meaning in suffering… how a man takes up their cross
Future goal… imagined lecture of psychology of concentration camp
Spinoza… Emotion which is suffering ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it
Nietzsche ‘He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how’
Does not matter what we expected from life but what life expected from us
Right action… responsibility to find the right answer to problems
If destiny is suffering then accept it as his task
Two races… Decent and Indecent man
Logotherapy focuses on future. Meaning centred
The Will to Meaning: primary motivation
Find meaning in life
Desire to write manuscript gave me meaning to live
Man needs not tensionless state but striving and struggling for worthwhile goal
PROBLEM WITH SOCIETY
Existential vacuum.. people lost meaning. Bored or distressed. Don’t know what to do
Edith Weisskopf-Joelson… meaning more important than happiness
Unemployed… depressed because not valuable. Aggression… collective p[urpose
HOW TO FIND MEANING
‘Live as if you were living already for the second time and you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now’
Make them aware of responsibility
True meaning is found in life… more forget yourself, the more you actualize yourself.
Don’t strive for actualisation or you’ll never get it.
FIND MEANING through
1) Creating work or doing a deed
2) Experiencing something or encountering someone (love)
3) Your attitude toward unavoidable suffering
Paradoxical intention… blushing, sleeping, stuttering, panic, anticipatory anxiety
Hyper intention not good…
Life is transitory: Freedom and responsibility