Introduction to Psychology
Man's Search for Meaning
N.B., You're responsible for reading Part II ("Logotherapy in a Nutshell") and
the Postscript ("The Case for a Tragic Optimism"), but not part I.
Summary of PART I:
A description of Frankl's many experiences in GERMAN CONCENTRATION
CAMPS during WWII, which had a great impact on his later thinking.
Much suffering & meaninglessness
-- led Frankl to wonder about MEANINGS and their psychological importance,
esp. in relation to dealing with suffering in life.
Normally, people have a collection of meanings that lend sense & purpose to
health, approval of one's peers, material wealth, good love-life, family
relations, comfort, happiness, etc.
But what about when none of these usual meanings are present, such as in a
concentration camp? Instead, there are
suffering, poor health, brutality, deprivation, lack of material comfort, the
closeness of death, etc.
In Frankl's experience, many people simply GIVE-UP ON LIFE under these
conditions, and choose suicide, in one form or another.
However, other people do not. Frankl's question, then, was -- what is the
difference between these two? What drives some people to continue fighting
for life, while other people simply die?
Frankl's answer is: Survivors had some MEANING or PURPOSE -- some
HOPE in the future to propel them forward. "He who has a WHY to live for
can bear almost any HOW." -- Nietzsche