Man’s Search for Meaning: A look at Victor Frankl

“… In attempting this psychological presentation and a psychopathological explanation of the typical characteristics of a concentration camp inmate, I may give the impression that the human being is completely and unavoidably influenced by his surroundings. (In this case the surroundings being the unique structure of camp life, which forced the prisoner to conform his conduct to a certain set pattern.) But what about human liberty? Is there no spiritual freedom in regard to behavior and reaction to any given surroundings? Is that theory true which would have us believe that man is no more than a product of many conditional and environmental factors — be they of a biological, psychological or sociological nature? Is man but an accidental product of these? Most important, do the prisoners’ reactions to the singular world of the concentration camp prove that man cannot escape the influences of his surroundings? Does man have no choice of action in the face of such circumstances?”
Excerpt from Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl


This week we’ve talked about happiness, how you can obtain it, how it can get away from you, how you can feel stuck, and how to weigh your options so you can reroute your life and find happiness again.

I thought we’d end this week with a few words from Victor Frankl who was a psychologist, holocaust survivor and the author of one of the most well-known holocaust books, Man’s Search for Meaning. In his book and the video below, Frankl discusses the Logotherapy/Existential Analysis he developed. In LTEA “the search for a meaning in life is identified as the primary motivational force in human beings.”

Watch the rare footage of Victor Frankl from 1972 speaking to the Toronto Youth Corps on Why to Believe in Others.

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