Better late than never. I recently read Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” It was first published in 1946. A friend told me years ago that this was the most influential book he had ever read in his life.
Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist who was imprisoned by the Nazis in a concentration camp in the second world war.
Trying to survive this nightmare, he started observing his fellow prisoners to discover from them how to survive.
Frankl’s discovery was this. Those who could not accept what was happening to them, who could not find some type of meaning in their present suffering, eventually gave up and died.
But it was different for those who could find some kind of meaning from their faith to fit the misery of their present circumstances. They were able to find hope for a future that was somehow beyond their current suffering. They survived. I want to share with you a paragraph from the book.
“The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity — even under the most difficult circumstances — to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal.” (Page 76)
He concluded that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living, even in suffering and death.
What a book. What a powerful witness about the meaning of life, and our quest to find that meaning.