Man’s Search for Meaning Book Summary

mans-search-meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

My Thoughts

The author, Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, spent years in Nazi death camps. This book is a product of his suffering in these camps. Within are his thoughts on meaning, purpose, love, fear,  suffering and more.

My Favorite Quotes

  • By love we are able to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person. Even more, he sees that potential in him which is not yet actualized but ought to be actualized.
    By his love the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize their potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.
  • When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

My Notes

Logotherapy is Meaning Therapy. Finding meaning in life.

When we don’t have a true meaning or purpose to live for outside of ourselves, we try to gain meaning and fulfillment through pleasure or power (including money).

Self-transcendence
Meaning is discovered outside of ourselves.
Be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter.
Thoughts directed at something or someone other than ones self.
The more one forgets himself by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself
Self-actualization is only possible as a side effect of self-transcendence.

We can discover meaning in life in one of three ways:

  1. By creating a work or doing a deed.
  2. By experiencing something or encountering someone.
  3. By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.

The Meaning of Love

By love we are able to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person. Even more, he sees that potential in him which is not yet actualized but ought to be actualized.

By his love the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize their potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.

The Meaning of Suffering
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

A man suffering the death of his wife finds meaning in that he is suffering for her instead of her surviving and suffering his death.

Meaning is possible in spite of suffering.

The burden of unavoidable unhappiness is increased by unhappiness about being unhappy.

Illustration: an ape being tested for human disease prevention would not understand the meaning of its suffering, but its suffering would have meaning.

The fear is the mother of the event.
Fear brings to pass what one is afraid of.

A forced intention makes impossible what one forcibly wishes.

Known as excessive intention or hyper-intention.

Example cases of sexual neuroses. The more a man tries to demonstrate his potency, the less he is able to succeed.

Pleasure is a byproduct that is destroyed and spoiled to the degree of which it is made a goal of itself.

Hyper-attention and hyper-intention can cause the same thing.

Theory of Paradoxical Intention

Man overcomes his fear by intending to do what he fears by replacing his fears with a paradoxical wish. (Reversal of attitude)

Doing this takes the wind out of the sails of an anxiety.

If you have trouble falling asleep try to stay awake as long as possible.
Use as a short-term therapeutic device.

Anticipatory anxiety has to be counteracted by paradoxical intention.

Hyper-intention and hyper-reflection have to be counteracted by de-reflection.

My Mindset Improvements After Reading

  • Be more loving of people around me, encouraging them to see and actualize their full potential.
  • Better understanding that purpose and meaning come from living for God and others around me.
  • Awareness of how people can find meaning in suffering.

This is the 24th book read in my 2017 reading list.
Hope you enjoyed this and got value from my notes.
Here is a list of all my book summaries.

 

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