Man's Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl tells the story in 2 distinct parts, of his experiences in Nazi concentration camps, which led to his theories about the importance of meaning in life. As well as reminding us of how terrible humans can be to one another, it presents a compelling argument for each of us seeking a reason to live.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how

Life is primarily about finding meaning, and we can find that meaning in three ways:

  • Work, by doing something meaningful
  • Love, by caring for others
  • Courage in difficult times

Our suffering is meaningless unless we choose to give it meaning. Although you cannot control what happens in your life, you do have control over your feelings and what you do regarding them.

The goal that humans desire is not a complete release of stress and responsibility, but to pursue a goal they chose for themselves. Men tend to follow the lead of others or to do what others tell them to do.

“Live as if it were your second life. Act as if you had acted wrongly in the first place as you are about to act now!”

Human beings, therefore, are not in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of reasons to be happier, and that means actualizing the potential meaning that lies dormant within a given situation.