Essay about Dr. Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning

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Dr. Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning

'He who has a why to live for can bear any how.' The words of Nietzsche begin to explain Frankl's tone throughout his book. Dr. Frankl uses his experiences in different Nazi concentration camps to explain his discovery of logotherapy. This discovery takes us back to World War II and the extreme suffering that took place in the Nazi concentration camps and outlines a detailed analysis of the prisoners psyche. An experience we gain from the first-hand memoirs of Dr. Frankl.

In the first half of this book, Dr. Frankl explains his theory of logotherapy through his concentration camp experiences. He explains how his worldly possessions were striped from him literally in the sense that his
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"Everything can be taken from man but ?the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." In this, Frankl discusses how different men chose different attitudes. Some remained descent, while others chose to become sadistic. He explains that it is the condition or the atmosphere that forces man to make this decision but that the condition or atmosphere does not make the decision. Each person has to decide what attitude to adopt. As Frankl further explains "there is also purpose in life which is almost barren of both creation and enjoyment and which admits of but one possibility of high moral behavior: namely, in man's attitude to his existence restricted by external forces."

Dr. Frankl also explains his theory on neurosis and how it is tied to the meaning of life. Frankl differs from the ideas of Freud. Freud believed that the basis of neurosis is in unconscious motives. Frankl believes that the basis for neurosis is man's search for his own meaning. Furthermore he explains that ones own meaning is constantly changing; therefor, the means for our suffering is constantly changing. Frankl explains, "What matters, therefor, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment." Frankl describes we discover our specific meaning at a given moment. "We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by doing a deed; (2) by
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