Man's Search for Meaning Questions and Answers
by Viktor Emil Frankl

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Describe the intentions of Frankl's Man's Search for meaning with regards to emotion, behavioral intentions, and critical thinking.

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Man's Search for Meaning has been published under at least two other titles: From Death-Camp to Existentialism and Nevertheless, Say "Yes" to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp. All of these give some idea of Frankl's intention to influence the reader's own critical thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

Naturally, the part of the book that deals directly with the physical details of life in a concentration camp evokes emotions such as horror, disgust, and anger. This, however, is not the primary purpose of the book. For Frankl as a psychiatrist, the concentration camps were the most extreme experiments that could be conceived. If one could remain mentally healthy and positive in Auschwitz, presumably one could do so anywhere.

Frankl come to see that his early focus on positive thoughts would not work in the concentration camps, which had no positive aspects. He therefore developed the practice of logotherapy, which relies not on happiness, which is often unavailable, but on meaning, which Frankl believed could be found in any situation.

The connection with existentialism was that one had to find one's own meaning in the bleakest situation. For Frankl himself, meaning lay in using his training as a psychiatrist to alleviate the suffering of his fellow inmates. He invites readers to critically examine their own situation, discover the meaning in their lives, and embrace that meaning as a way of life.

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