Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning

Viktor E. Frankl

Language: English

Pages: 184

ISBN: 080701429X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

With a new Foreword by Harold S. Kushner
and a new Biographical Afterword by William J. Winslade

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.

Beacon Press, the original English-language publisher of Man's Search for Meaning, is issuing this new paperback edition with a new Foreword, biographical Afterword, jacket, price, and classroom materials to reach new generations of readers.











dimmed, and all efforts and all emotions were centered on one task: preserving one’s own life and that of the other fellow. It was typical to hear the prisoners, while they were being herded back to camp from their work sites in the evening, sigh with relief and say, “Well, another day is over.” It can be readily understood that such a state of strain, coupled with the constant necessity of concentrating on the task of staying alive, forced the prisoner’s inner life down to a primitive level.

lapse. VIKTOR E. FRANKL Vienna, 1992 I EXPERIENCES IN A CONCENTRATION CAMP THIS BOOK DOES NOT CLAIM TO BE an account of facts and events but of personal experiences, experiences which millions of prisoners have suffered time and again. It is the inside story of a concentration camp, told by one of its survivors. This tale is not concerned with the great horrors, which have already been described often enough (though less often believed), but with the multitude of small torments. In

meaninglessness, it may well be that an individual’s impulse to take his life would have been overcome had he been aware of some meaning and purpose worth living for. If, thus, a strong meaning orientation plays a decisive role in the prevention of suicide, what about intervention in cases in which there is a suicide risk? As a young doctor I spent four years in Austria’s largest state hospital where I was in charge of the pavilion in which severely depressed patients were accommodated—most of

hastens to add that suffering is not necessary to find meaning, only that “meaning is possible in spite of suffering.” Indeed, he goes on to say that “to suffer unnecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic.” I first read Man’s Search for Meaning as a philosophy professor in the mid-1960s. The book was brought to my attention by a Norwegian philosopher who had himself been incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp. My colleague remarked how strongly he agreed with Frankl about the importance

to look smart, and he turned my shoulders very slowly until I faced right, and I moved over to that side. The significance of the finger game was explained to us in the evening. It was the first selection, the first verdict made on our existence or non-existence. For the great majority of our transport, about 90 percent, it meant death. Their sentence was carried out within the next few hours. Those who were sent to the left were marched from the station straight to the crematorium. This

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