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

Man's Search for Meaning book cover
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Explain the significance of Man's Search for Meaning with reference to logotherapy.

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Victor Frankl survived Auschwitz, a story he tells in his book Man's Search for Meaning. While he is quite clear that surviving the camps was an act of chance, a random matter of extraordinary good luck, he does not discount choosing optimism and a search for meaning as survival factors.

Frankl was a psychologist, and his theory of logotherapy argues that instead of the Freudian pleasure principle or the will to power, the search for meaning is the most powerful force motivating people. We all want to lead meaningful lives, and as long as we feel we are doing so, we have a strong desire to stay alive. We find meaning in three ways: through our work, through relationships with other people, and through choosing how we will respond to whatever situation we are thrown into. According to logotherapy, without a sense of meaning, we can easily lose our will to live.

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rbillitteri | Student

Logotherapy is defined by Victor Frankel as:

Logotherapy focuses rather on the future, that is to say, on the meanings to be fulfilled by the patient in his future.(Logotherapy, indeed, is a meaning- centered psychotherapy.) At the same time, logotherapy defocuses all the vicious-circle formations and feedback mechanisms which play such a great role in the development of neuroses. (98)

That is to say that logotherapy helps a patient create meaning out of seemingly meaningless events in their lives, which may include suffering. Man's Search for Meaning is Victor Frankel's exploration of the formation of logotherapy which is his therapeutic doctrine. The first part of Man's Search for Meaning is an autobiography written by Victor Frankel about his time spent in concentration camps during World War Two. He uses examples that he felt himself and witnessed in others which led him to the ideas he holds in the second part of this book, which is the explanation of logotherapy. During his time at various concentration camps, Frankel grasps at the inner life of prisoners and how that may keep prisoners from suffering from spiritual poverty. He notices the prisoners doing this by finding meaning in their suffering. For example, perhaps the meaning of suffering in the concentration camps is to be reunited with a loved one, or for Frankel, to continue his life's writings that he lost when he entered the camps. Man's Search for Meaning is the explanation of how logotherapy came to be through the personal life experiences of its creator, Victor Frankel.