Viktor Frankl: The Work of 04 CM

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


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

Logos Meaning

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


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

Addiction.. meaninglessness


‘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.


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

Recommended Reading:

A Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl