In Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl provides a relevant account of his concentration camp experience in which the indescribable horror of Nazi death camps revives in the mind of the reader. The introduction of the concept of logotherapy indicates the author’s concern with finding an explainable meaning of the horror that took place during the time when the death camps were set. It is important to point out that the Holocaust created a significant type of individuals described by Frankl in his book: the figure of survivors. This shows that the people who survived such a horrific experience were enabled with a new task, in particular addressing the human capacity to respond to evil. Yet this experience is quite extreme and thus requires a more holistic understanding. The application of conventional psychological principles seems unpractical, as realized by Frankl. As the author of the book notices, the Holocaust survivors have a persistent struggle to cope with their emotional damage they have endured.
Frankl indicates that the man’s search for meaning completely presents the struggle related to the survivors. It can be pointed out that such meaning, from the perspective of the individuals who had undergone the events of the Holocaust, cannot be separated from the actual horror. One of the advantages of the author in explaining man’s search for meaning is his personal experiences, which enabled him with an opportunity to develop a distinct form of psychotherapy known as logotherapy. The expertise developed by Frankl serves as a solid foundation of perceiving the importance of searching for meaning in life, or in other words, a proper reason to live.
In fact, all other experiences appear secondary, implying that man’s search for meaning has a primary status. In this way, Frankl sets the beginning of the psychotherapeutic approach of logotherapy. The latter refers to the precise meaning of human existence including man’s extensive interest in finding such meaning. Frankl’s subjective narrative of the Holocaust clearly outlines the basic concepts of logotherapy. The extremes of human suffering observed by the book’s author provide him with a basis to reach to his conclusions regarding the feasibility of logotherapy as an approach to deal with the horrific experience of the Holocaust.
An interesting aspect to which Frankl refers to in his book is related to the idea that normal behavioral patterns are a necessary prerequisite to address abnormal situations, such as those in Nazi death camps. As a result, other individuals may attain a better understanding of the distinct patterns of concentration camp behavior. The main challenge for outsiders is to comprehend that such horror and violence completely undermine the value of human life. Another significant claim made by the author is that survival is associated with free will, but such statement may be considered controversial to a particular extent. Some people may fail to understand Frankl’s assumption that concentration camp experience actually represents a choice of action. Yet Frankl observes a significant amount of mental autonomy evident in those camps.
In the process of developing the dimensions of logotherapy, Frankl discusses the patient’s reorientation in a direction of seeking meaning of life. Therefore, the will to meaning emerges as the most important principle of logotherapy. In fact, this principle also can be identified as a strong source of motivation for the actions of human beings under similar circumstances. The abstract meaning of life is important, but the relevance of unique situations should be considered as well. In conclusion, Frankl adequately demonstrates how concentration camp experience is used to explain the basic concept of searching for meaning in life.