About a few weeks ago, I finished reading a book that was really meaningful for the messages it gives. The book is the “man in search for meaning” by Victor e. Frankl. He was an Austrian psychiatrist who was deported to three different lagers during Nazis from 1942 to 1945.
The clear and surprising message that comes from this book is that life is worth to be lived in all cases, even in the most miserable conditions. From the beginning, the author makes it clear that he wrote the book with the purpose not to tell the terrible events that occurred in that period, but to focus on the psychology of the prisoners who lived those episodes.
In particular, I was really surprised about two concepts that have emerged reading this book.
The first was about the extreme conditions that people there were forced to live in: even the author and his companions were surprised at how the human body got used to the dangerous living circumstances, going against all the beliefs they had about the human body and what it can or can’t do. Moreover, also the mind got used to what occurs around you. It is its way to survive. Even though we don’t believe what we’re living is true.
The second aspect is a spiritual one, which is the importance of giving meaning to the events. We are all familiar with the questions: “what is the meaning of life? Why do we need to suffer like this?”. These were very common questions in that period among the prisoners, and the author explains that how each person answered this question was crucial to determine his survival.
As humans, we tend to find answers that explain the reality we are living, and it can be dangerous not finding them, especially if we are suffering. It is not an easy question of course, and the author explained that the branch that deals with these concepts is called “Logotherapy” (logoterapia), whose main purpose is to find the meaning (“logos”) of the human being’s existence. Finding this meaning can help people to move forward and accept what happened or is happening in their life. The approach was theorized precisely by Victor e. Frankl, who explained its roots in his book.
These concepts, even they are told in a different context, made me think a lot about the meaning of our life and what we live each day, and I am sure that this book can help a lot to understand that is our responsibility to find answers on what we live and to find the purposes of our life.