"Why" is the Secret to "How" - Lessons from Viktor Frankl

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him. ~ Viktor Frankl

In the movie "Sleepless in Seattle," Sam (Tom Hanks) feeling guilt from his little son's insistence, gets on the phone with a talk show host who asks him about life after his wife's death:

Doctor Marcia Fieldstone: People who truly loved once are far more likely to love again. Sam, do you think there's someone out there you could love as much as your wife?

Sam Baldwin: Well, Dr. Marcia Fieldstone, that's hard to imagine.

Doctor Marcia Fieldstone: What are you going to do?

Sam Baldwin: Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breath in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breath in and out... and, then after a while, I won't have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while.

Doctor Marcia Fieldstone: Tell me what was so special about your wife?


Sam Baldwin: Well, how long is your program? Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together... and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home... only to no home I'd ever known... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like... magic.

Viktor Frankl Photo by Katharina Vesely 1994
Viktor Frankl Photo by Katharina Vesely 1994

He who has a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how' ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Viktor E. Frankl was one of the great motivators/psychotherapists of this century. He survived the Holocaust, even though he was in four Nazi death camps including Auschwitz from 1942-45. He spent almost all his life in Vienna--born there in 1905 and died there in 1997. Frankl was on the staff of Rothschild Hospital when he was taken prisoner. Frankl's first book in English, Man's Search For Meaning was written while in a Nazi prison camp during World War II. (According to United States Library of Congress poll, the book is one of the ten most influential books in America.)

Frankl could have left the country before being arrested but after praying for a sign from God, he found a piece of his bombed synagogue which said "Honor your father and mother..." and decided to stay with his parents. While they perished in the camps, Frankl held on because of his intense sense of purpose. Through his experiences in the camps, he developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy.

At the core of his theory is the belief that humanity's primary motivational force is the search for meaning. Even in the degradation and misery of the concentration camps, Frankl was able to exercise the most important freedom of all: the freedom to determine one's own attitude and spiritual well-being.

According to Frankl, only the prisoners who recognized a meaning to their lives and looked forward to fulfilling it were able to sustain the abuse, demoralization and unhealthy conditions of the concentration camps. These people had a reason to live and a reason to overcome the ruthless abuse and horrendous living conditions.

Life is meaningless only if we allow it to be. Each of us has the power to give life meaning, to make our time and our bodies and our words into instruments of love and hope. ~ Tom Head


Frankl refers to life without meaning as an existential vacuum in which life becomes boring and is often dictated by the desires or demands of others. Depression is likely to set in and aggressive or addictive behavior is likely to ensue. People who are stuck in this vacuum tend to fill the void by seeking power, money or pleasure, and will eventually come to the inevitable conclusion that these temporary forms of superficial satisfaction will never provide the deep fulfillment that results from living a meaningful life.

Frankl attributes true meaning to three sources.

  • Accomplishments and creative activities such as solving a problem or creating an invention
  • Experiencing something or someone inspiring such as the beauty of nature, the love for a spouse or family member, or the value of a close friend
  • Identifying value in unavoidable suffering

Humans are not merely products of their genes or their environment, they are ultimately self-determining. Frankl wrote, "In the concentration camp, we witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself: which one is actualized depends on decisions not on conditions. Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers and he is also that being who entered the gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips."

It was Frankl's contention that the pleasure principle of Freud is self-defeating. The more one aims for pleasure, the more his aim is missed. The very "pursuit of happiness" is what thwarts it and this self-defeating quality of pleasure-seeking accounts for many sexual problems. If your goal is to achieve a high level of sexual pleasure, often you are too stressed trying to perform that you miss out entirely. When you focus on your partner and the love you have for them, the pleasure comes naturally.

Striving for superiority has a similar negative result if that is your aim. If you have a goal of serving your fellowman, you often find that excellence is a happy by-product. If there is a reason for happiness, happiness comes automatically and spontaneously. Neither happiness nor success can substitute for fulfillment and meaning. Man is pushed by drives but pulled by meaning. Fulfillment always implies decision-making rather than a drive to meaning.

Man is responsible for the fulfillment of the specific meaning of his personal life. He is also responsible before something, or to something, be it society, or humanity, or God, or his own conscience. Many people interpret their existence not just in terms of being responsible in general terms but rather to someone, namely God.

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. ~ Diane Ackerman

The existential vacuum is often experienced as a state of boredom or depression when people become aware of the lack of content and meaning in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest.

The existential vacuum can lead you to seek meaning in your life or through fear of responsibility and the tendency to escape from freedom lead you to a kind of nihilism that considers that life is meaningless. Responsibility to others and the freedom to choose how you live your life is a big part of the spirituality of man. We have freedom in spite of our instincts, inherited disposition, and environment to find meaning by deciding to pursue our dreams and passions to make a difference in the world.

Frankl describes it like this "... In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen...People who were used to a rich intellectual life...were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom...(It is an) apparent paradox that some prisoners of a less hardy makeup often seemed to survive camp life better than did those of a robust nature."

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Frankl illustrates by an account of being driven each morning to their work site: "We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles...as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife's image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honorable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.

There were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.

We who lived, in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters. I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn't touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.~ Mother Teresa

Comments 57 comments

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Iggy Sarducci left me a comment on my Be the Best... hub in reference to Viktor Frankl's appropriation and embodying of Nietzsche's quote that with a "why" man can endure any "how."

"Winsome, this Frankl comment sounds intriguing but I can't quite wrap my head around it. Would you mind elaborating a little?"

Iggy, I hope this answers your question.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Great Mind! Love your Take...


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Wasn't he--thank you Lilly, you have shown by your life that choices trump conditions. Appreciate you stopping by. =:)


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Very interesting and thank you for your introduction of Frankl theories.


Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

Love is our key to existence! people ask why we are here? What is the purpose to living? I say, to learn all there is about love, to experience it in all it's ways! The hardest lesson in love is to love love your enemy! This is a wonderful hub. Thank you for sharing it. Vote up all the way across. ~aloha~


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great hub. To keep "yourself" and an "attitude" in the harshest environment like a concentration camp -that's some concentration!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hello my friend, Hello--you are welcome. Every time I read this man I stand a little taller. Nice to see you. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Aloha Sa'ge, you are so right. Jesus once summed up all the laws and the prophets in one sentence--love God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself. Thank you for keying in to the essence of meaning in life and for the gracious words. =:)


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

one of the best hubs on HubPages! I can't add anything to what you have written. thank you so much for taking the time to write such a beautiful, meaningful purpose for humanity. some search a lifetime for that which is already within. Frankl certainly found that special place and responded. we are fortunate to have his life from which to draw inspiration and meaning.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha Micky, I can always count on you for insight and humor in just the right "concentration." Thank you for stopping by. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Rebekah so nice to see you and thank you for the glowing and warm review. You are right that we all have a divine fire within and as Frankl said, every day we have choices we can make to either conform to others who are in despair or to reach within for the strength and courage to shine like the stars and sometimes....we can brighten a day for others as you have mine. =:)


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

I forgot to add that Sleepless in Seattle is one of those movies that I can watch over and over and never grow tired of it. I love the section you have quoted and the photo. thanks again. ***** [that's 5 stars]


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Your hub is a glowing and wonderfully written tribute to Viktor Frankl, his book, his intelligence and insight and his life. Thank you, Winsome.


Unchained Grace profile image

Unchained Grace 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Years ago, while living in the woods as a homeless vet, Jeus came to me with a vision. A purpose. One which became my obsession. It carried me through all. It had come from Jesus. No matter what happens in the interim, I know that I know that I know that as I stood on the edge of the foggy Visionary's Bridge, I had only to keep myself locked on the faint glimmer of light which gets stronger with each step forward I take.

Sure, there will be storms. There will be distractions to the left and right. It is that vision. That purpose which leaves us with the revelation of motivation.


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Wonderful stuff Winsome! I can really relate to "the most important freedom of all: the freedom to determine one's own attitude and spiritual well-being", but there's so much more here. Rated up, awesome and bookmarked. Thanks!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Me too Rebekah, the idea of someone worth everything captivated me and the Sleepless in Seattle audience to the very end where the only physical interaction between them was her taking his hand. It was that kind of devotion that gave Viktor the purpose to make it through four death camps. May we all find such a love. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Doc, good to see you and thank you. I have quoted him so much I thought it was time I gave him the attention he deserves. We all have a chance to reach deep down and pull out a miracle for someone--it may be a kind word, a helping hand, a pat on the back or simply the gift of unconditional approval. The funny thing as Viktor demonstrated, in doing so the life you change is often your own. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Unchained, funny how knowing why you are getting up in the morning can liberate your whole day. When you finally own the vision of who you were called to be, everything else is just details. Thanks for your heartfelt comment.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi GL, Thank you for leaving me a little of your Southern grace and affirmation. Now that I know how to boil water I feel ever so much more accomplished and fulfilled. =:)

I'm glad you stopped by, I liked the part where he says we are "pushed by drives but pulled by meaning" and fulfillment comes when we focus on what pulls us on and let our natural drives help us get there.


fetty profile image

fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

Winsome this is an outstanding hub. Beautifully written, inspirational piece. Some other quotes from Mother Theresa: "The more we have, the less we can give. Poverty is a wonderful gift because it gives us freedom. I'm only a little wire - God is the Power. God hasn't called me to be successful. He's called me to be faithful." You are doing his work here, Winsome. WOW!!!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Fetty, I love that quote--the more we have the less we can give. In my secret to happiness hub I talked about paring down your possessions. Imagine how little Viktor had in the camps and just look at what he gave. Thank you again for your great comment.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Sleepless in Seattle is my favorite movie. Very romantic movie. You reminds me again how beautiful the relationship between Tom hanks and Meg Ryan. I learn much from this hub. Decision is important in life. That's make us doubt without decision, this come from our heart. Thanks for share with us. Vote up.

Prasetio


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you so much Prasetio, yes you are right, if you follow your heart you will always know where you are going. I appreciate your words. =:)


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

Very inspiring, Winsome. I love Viktor Frankl, and when I face a trial or hardship, he is one of the people who comes to my mind and reminds me that it's not what happens to us in life, but how we respond. Thanks for really digging deep into this topic and sharing it, Winsome. It really was an act of love on your part!


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

I love the quote by Diane Ackerman. Choosing to live life to its fullest, choosing a positive attitude, instead of letting the days slip by, wasted.

I hadn't heard of Viktor E. Frankl before, but have come across the principles before. I want to read his book. Thanks so much for writing this.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hello Kim, thank you and you're welcome. I love the fact that he wrote the book in the camps like Anne Frank in the walls. When I see a sunflower growing out of a sea of asphalt, I think of people like him who never let adversity keep them from blossoming. Have a great day. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Lady Ivorwen, so nice to have you stop by. I almost got on my horse to go find where you'd been and here you are in my garden. You will love this guy. He had some kind of moral gyroscope that just guided him through hell into a marvelous kind of freedom and power that few ever achieve with everything available to them. For a professor and a psychotherapist, he speaks with poetry and conviction and draws things out of you you never thought you had.

Thank you for coming over, I'll come visit soon. =:)


allpurposeguru profile image

allpurposeguru 6 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks for the timely reminder of what I have known for a while, but need to keep in the front of my mind so I'll actually think and live that way.


JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest

That was a very wise and inspiring hub Winsome and a very useful one for so many people these days. The measure of what we are definitely needs to be evaluated by each of us on a regular basis. I'm not sure on the quote but I try to subscribe to the statement that life isn't about what happens to us but instead it is how we face what happens to us. Easier said than done perhaps but true never the less.


Iggy Sarducci profile image

Iggy Sarducci 6 years ago from Wherever I am now

Winsome,

Thank you. This was helpful for me to read now, at a challenging time in my life. It is a good reminder for me to reflect on what I really find value and meaning in.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi APG, nice to see you and you're welcome. Keeping the main things the main thing is a challenge but reading his words really helps. Thanks for your positive comment. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi John, good to see you. Isn't it interesting that like you, his wife was key in helping him through the dying all around him--he said that a strong love for something or someone not only sustains you but gives your life the "meaning" most spend their whole lives searching for.

Thank you for your comment and the gracious words. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Iggy so glad the article was helpful. Nothing like a great challenge to help you get your priorities straight. If we would all pack our own parachute we might not fear falling so much. Thank you for the question, this exercise greatly helped me as well. All the best. =:)


cosette 6 years ago

such a simple message, that the pursuit and attainment of love is the most profound experience anyone can have in their life, yet so many people hold other things in higher regard, like money, power, fame...love is all, as the song says. i had never heard of Viktor Frankl, i am ashamed to say. his experience makes you pause and examine what is really important - certainly what is worth fretting over. and Mother Theresa...i don't know what it is about her but whenever i see her face i feel like i am looking at well, a saint. has she been beatified yet?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INcSFm0ZhLE


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Cos, I always quoted him but I really didn't know him until I researched for this hub. He is one of those multi-layered souls that reveals more and more depth of character with every probe. He saw the horror approaching and asked for wisdom. When he felt God telling him to stay it was like something I like to say to myself--there is no safer place in all the universe than in the center of God's will. Thank you for the beautiful music, I'm listening to it in another window while I'm writing this. Oh and Mother Theresa, I think you see her rightly, she could care less what category some hierarchy gives her, the lepers on the street have already given her the title she deserves and that's good enough for me. =:)


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 6 years ago from Manila

Great hub, great thoughts to ponder. The greatest choice a man may make is to live continually for love. Thank you for sharing these precious insights here at Hubpages.Blessings to you and your family.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Nice to see you Cristina, you are right, if we could all make love choices, we might see a different world. The hardest time to do that is when we are right and they are wrong. Frankl was in the middle of that dilemma every day and he kept making the love choice. I fail in the same situation often, but I'm trying to learn. Thank you for the warm comments and for the visit. =:)


Joyus Crynoid profile image

Joyus Crynoid 6 years ago from Eden

Very well said Winsome. This is one of my favorite hubs so far.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Joyus, I have been traveling through your articles and your words are very much appreciated. There is a dynamic in Frankl that is sophisticated and powerful and yet simple to understand. The choices are less easy but oh how rewarding. =:)


lettucehead profile image

lettucehead 6 years ago from California

Couldn't help but get watery eyed at this quote "I won't have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while." And as I continued reading this hub I was in full tears! Truly amazing.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

I am so pleased that you saw the similarities in their stories. "Sam" was imprisoned by the memory of his wife and Viktor was set free by the memory of his. I am glad you liked it. It really is a love story. =:)


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

Absolutely awesome! Your hub had so much truth I am gobbling it down like crazy - and I have a new author and a new hubber-you-to read! Am joining your fan club and bookmarking this page too.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

You are so sweet frogyfish. Thank you for the gracious words and the feeling is mutual. I am glad we found each other. Like Frankl we enlarge our freedom to choose every time we find a place to exercise our mind and great writers open us up like nothing else. =:)


amorea13 6 years ago

Winsome this is a 'class' piece of writing and you are without doubt a most capable and fluent writer - BUT that is NOT the reason (though it contributes greatly) why I believe this hub to be SO fantastic - it's because it 'touches' me - in every part that requires touching; my heart and my soul.

Seriously and without any sense of 'drama' I mean this - Your quote from Victor Frankl sets the 'tone' of your hub and from that moment you relentlessly captivate and sharpen the senses of understanding and awareness of the human condition and our own condition within that.

It is a very powerful piece of writing Winsome and I thank you for reading my words so that I could get to yours. Voted up without a doubt.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Amorea, I am humbled by your words--there are people who make an indelible impression on our souls for the better. Someone like Frankl stands apart from the self absorbed of the world and by his example illuminates a path we may not have seen. May we all take a path that, although less traveled by-- "makes all the difference."


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago

I love the movie Sleepless in Seattle. The theory of Victor Frankl is one of my favorites in Psychology. He was the founder of Logotheraphy and Existential Analysis in 1930’s. In Logotherapy / Existential Analysis (LTEA), the search for a meaning in life was identified as the primary motivational force in human beings. I also like his approach based on three psychological concepts, which were freedom of will, will to meaning and meaning in life.

You just shared in your hub one of the most important theories in which readers can learn so much from it. I also like the way you presented it by writing helpful quotes by other notable people. I too believe in this saying, “He who has a why to live, can bear with almost any how.” Thumbs up!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Tina, I'm so glad you like Frankl, while you could argue the idea of meaning in life was not earthshakingly new, he lived his philosophy and showed us that if he could find it in the death camp,s it is possible to find meaning in the middle of the little trials we have. Sam in "Sleepless" is an example of our being thrown by something and climbing our way out through a purpose (raising Jonah and his work) and love (Annie.) The more I think about people like Frankl I am convinced that Maslow's Hierarchy of Values does not have to be drawn that way. When we pursue character, dignity and kindness first, food and shelter do not hold the same power over us as when we don't. Thank you for the great comment. =:)


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

This is one of the best hubs that I have read - ever!

Last week I started to read Primo Levi, and now I see that I will have to follow this with Frankl.

This is a hub that I shall read again, and probably more than once.

Profound writing: I am glad that I found it.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Pat, I greatly appreciate the very kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I will have to look up Primo Levi. Thank you for coming by. =:)


2uesday profile image

2uesday 5 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

Winsome although I voted on this - unfortunately the word inspiring was not on the list and neither was enlightening if they had been there - I would have used them to describe it. I have just arrived here and started to read this, but the words of it seem so important to me, that I need to understand all of it - so I will print it out and read it fully once again. Thank you, I am grateful.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

You are very welcome 2uesday, and thank you for coming by. I'm happy you caught the significance of Frankl's message. It is a powerful one and has helped me in so many ways. The most important one is knowing I can make a difference for good or evil in any situation so I better be prepared to shine. =:)


Justsilvie 5 years ago

This is a beautiful and touching Hub! With the current state of the planet, you and Viktor Frankl are just the right persons to read. Messages of love and hope are needed so much at the moment. As is the reminder we are the ones that make the difference. I am glad I found your Hubs, look forward to reading more.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Silvie, thank you for coming and the wonderful tribute. As I read the comments and replies again I was touched by all of them and with your permission I will print again the reply I gave to Doc BJ above:

"We all have a chance to reach deep down and pull out a miracle for someone--it may be a kind word, a helping hand, a pat on the back or simply the gift of unconditional approval. The funny thing as Viktor demonstrated, in doing so the life you change is often your own."

Thank you again for reading and the kind words. May we all be messages of love and hope. =:)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Winsome- Such an important, meaningful, and beautifully written Hub. Victor Frankl has so much to teach us if we will let him. I first read Man's Search for Meaning many years ago when I was in graduate school (my focus was twentieth century Europe/Germany/the Holocaust. As soon as I had the opportunity to teach a Holocaust course, I added Frankl to the reading list for my students.

I have been using it for over ten years now - both to provide information about the Nazis and the concentration camp system/experience, but also as a way to encourage self-reflection on the part of the students,provide insight into the human condition,and explore the possibilities which can be found in the midst of deprivation and suffering. Such an important work. Thank you for drawing our attention to him.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi PH, I'm glad you enjoyed my take on it--thanks for the kind words and for giving your students the most important lesson of the holocaust. We can lose our freedom to move around as we would like, we can lose our possessions, we can lose our safety and we can lose our loved ones, but the one thing we can never lose, unless we allow it, is the freedom to choose who we are going to be.

And that, in the end, is all we really have. =:)


Phoebe Pike 3 years ago

Love this.


ImYoungAtHeart 3 years ago

I am so glad I found your hubs to follow and read. This is another amazing one that reaches into our soul and makes us say OMG he is so right!! Hope you don't mind but I am sharing it with some close friends and my kids. And the book Man's Search For Meaning just got put to top of my reading list for this summer. Thanks for writing with such insight and eloquence about it.

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