Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is not an easy book for me to review. While it has been a fair number of years since I have been in college, being that this is a psychological work, I have to continue to remind myself that I did not read Frankl’s book with the intention of using it as a resource for a thesis paper. That being said, this book does read in a variety of ways. The first section is very much a memoir written in such a way as to prove a theory. The second is the author’s findings after applying this theory to patients; I use this term loosely as Frankl is certain to point out that those who benefit from this method are not in fact patients, but rather people who simply need some advice. The third is more of a justification for the necessity for his theory and the practice thereof. However, although this is very much an academic piece do not allow that to deter you from reading it recreationally.
As for the actual theory in Man’s Search for Meaning our natural grim outlook on suffering is questioned. He declares that if one can find meaning in life even the worst circumstances can become bearable. In his final section Frankl asserts that people are becoming increasingly “frustrat(ed) of our existential needs”. While this statement was made with the 1980s in mind it can be said that it is even truer now. With the common turn to the self-help section a push for relief from our growing angst/weltschmerz appears to be a social necessity.
Whether you are finding yourself searching for some answers or just an insightful read this book is worth looking into. It is not an easy read in that some of the content deals with the horrors of life in a concentration camp, however, it is a meaningful one.