Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Words on Viktor E. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”

For the meaning of life differs from man to man,
from day to day and from hour to hour.
What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general
but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment
(Viktor E. Frankl)

Next month book to read
Consciously, I don’t like to judge people by their appearances. In other words, I’m trying my best not to ‘judge a book by its cover’. But I do judge people by the books they read. So my habit as I went to someone’s houses, I’ll look for their book(s) shelf in the living room or anywhere accessible and within the boundaries, if you know what I mean. Due to that habit, few months ago, I ‘found’ a book, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl at my cousin’s house. It was an interesting book. Since I only browsed here and there, I however, managed to read the introduction of the book. It was sort of hard-to-read book (at least for me), so to quince my curiosity I just read summaries of the book from many websites in the internet and I come out with this conclusion or rather – a short summary of the book:

Since World War II, an Australian psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, has written extensively on the relation of the meaning of life to the whole structure of personality. He claims that the need to find meaning in life is more basic to human being than pleasure or power or anything else. The thesis he repeats again and again is that if the person has a “why” to live, he can endure almost any “how”. But if that dimension of “why” is lacking, then the whole structure of one’s life eventually collapses.
This insight into the important of meaning was developed by Frankl during the years he spent as a Jewish prisoner in a German concentration camp. Life there was unbelievably harsh and brutal. The prisoners were forced to work long hours and were barely given enough food, clothing, and shelter to survive. As the months unfolded, Frankl began to note that some prisoners soon collapsed under the pressure and gave up and died, while others under the same conditions continued to hope and managed to stay alive.
Using the tools of his psychiatric training, he would talk in the evening to scores of fellow inmates about this, and he found a pattern beginning to emerge. Those prisoners who had something to live for, and objective that gave a sense of meaning to their lives, were the ones who tended to mobilize their strength and survive.

Their objectives varied widely. One prisoner had a retarded child back home and had a great desire to get back and take care of the child. Another had a girlfriend he expected to marry as soon as the war was over. “Frankl himself”, writes Roy B. Zuck, “had begun a book and had a fierce desire to survive and finish it and get it published.”
Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl thesis in this book is worth repeating: if the person has a “why” to live, he can endure almost any “how”. When I thought about it, I say – well, God had placed in us a “why” to live. In the Bible language it is called: purpose. God created you for a purpose. It only makes sense that your Creator knows exactly what will satisfy the longings of your heart. I believe that the question “why” in our life should be seen in a big-picture not just in the ‘here and now’ such as take care of a child or marrying your girlfriend (or boyfriend) or to finish and publish a book… it should also, most importantly, be seen in a God’s perspective:- wider and much more real. Do you have a ‘why’ to live? If not, ask God to reveal it to you. Don’t worry about the ‘how’ just search for the ‘why’. Psalms 57:2 says, “I cry to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.” (NLT) Oh, cry out to your Creator. He made you. He knows what you’re made for. Keep asking. Keep searching.

Never stop searching – the searching, my friends, will keep you close to God.
Hmmm… Close to God… maybe that is one of your chief purposes in life.
God be with you in your searching. Remember, He made you; He knows what you're made for.

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1 comment:

  1. I read this book before. ya it is a very good one to read.. I recommend it. he2 thanks for all your motivate for Life blog.. :) It's trully inspired me and I recommend it to my friends too...

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