Man's Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/2/7
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A prominent Viennese psychiatrist before the war, Viktor Frankl was uniquely able to observe the way that he and other inmates coped with the experience of being in Auschwitz. He noticed that it was the men who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest - and who offered proof that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances.
The sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone. Only those who allowed their inner hold on their moral and spiritual selves to subside eventually fell victim to the camp's degenerating influence - while those who made a victory of those experiences turned them into an inner triumph.
Frankl came to believe that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. This outstanding work offers us all a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the art of living.
"An enduring work of survival literature" (New York Times)
"If you read but one book this year, Dr Frankl's book should be that one." (Los Angeles Times)
"His works are essential reading for those who seek to understand the human condition." (Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks)
"Influential and eloquent." (Jewish Chronicle)
"Perhaps the most significant thinking since Freud and Adler." (The American Journal of Psychiatry)
を深夜たまたま見て再度興味をひかれ 英語の翻訳を(ドイツ語は読めないので))購入読んだ。 強制収容所の体験は 現代の我々にも
生きる意味の与えてくれると思う。この本は仏教、キリスト教等の宗教に近く宗教書と言っても良いだろう。 後半の著者フランクルの専門分野(心理学?)の分析は日本語の翻訳にはなかった部分のように思う。 日本語の訳が なぜ「霧と夜」なのか解らない。 「生きる意味を求めて」 の方が良いのではないか。
Amazon.com で最も参考になったカスタマーレビュー (beta)
If you have OCD on the spine conditions of your books, don't get the Mass Market Paperback, as your spine is going to end up creased pretty good after reading it.
Again, my review is only the physical book, not on the content, as I haven't started to read it yet :(
Anyways, this book was an entertaining read (hence I was able to finish it), it had a noticeable effect on my life, and I can barely go one week without quoting it.
Totally worth the price.
In the first part of the book, Frankl describes his personal experiences as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps. He traces the mental state of an average prisoner in the camps, beginning upon arrival, and through liberation. Frankl writes that after the initial shock of reaching the infamous camp, a prisoner would be overcome by a "delusion of reprieve", an irrational feeling of hope that his situation would somehow be changed for the better. However, after being separated from loved ones in the dreaded selections, and watching them walk towards the gas chambers to their deaths, the reality and horrification of it all dawned upon the prisoner. Frankl describes the next emotional stage as "relative apathy", which was a complete weakening of the prisoner's senses and feelings, leaving a body merely going through the motions of everyday camp routine rather than a person. According to Frankl, apathy was essential for the preservation of a prisoner's life, because it channeled every emotion he had towards the goal of making it through the day alive. The third and final stage that a prisoner experienced was the complete inability to grasp the meaning of freedom. Following this the prisoner would have to re-learn what emotions such as joy and pleasure meant. Throughout this development, there still remains the question: what were the thoughts that gave a prisoner the drive to live, completely necessary for the conservation of his life? Frankl provides answers to this question in the second section of the book.
Throughout the book, Frankl often quotes Nietzsche: "He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how." In the second section, Frankl elaborates on how this phrase sums up, in a nutshell, the mentality with which he survived the war. Having a purpose in life, writes Frankl, is the key to withstanding almost any suffering. Frankl named his theory "logotherapy", since logos is Greek for meaning. A method employed in psychology, "logotherapy" causes a patient to pinpoint and become familiar with the meaning of his life, which according to Frankl is the patient's will to strive, succeed, and to live. Frankl goes on to suggest three ways in which one can strive for meaning. The first one, understandably, is to accomplish something. Additionally, meaning can be found by loving another. Finally, man can find meaning by suffering. When one is faced with suffering, and there is nothing he can do to change his predicament, the only remaining option is for him to change his perspective, to change the way in which he views the situation. An example that Frankl gives is of a story of a grieving widower who had lost his wife. The man came to Frankl to ask for advice. Frankl asked the man, "What would have happened...if you had died first and your wife would have had to survive without you?" Through this question, the suffering the man was enduring gained a new purpose, he was mourning, but his wife would not have to mourn him. This story illustrates the usage of "logotherapy", and how by using it, one can utilize his suffering and find meaning through it.
The Holocaust and World War II is a time in world history that has been studied and pondered by many scholars. There are volumes upon volumes written about this dark time in history. Man's Search for Meaning is unique because Frankl focuses on the psychology of it all. He brings proofs to back up his claim that man's search for meaning is, in and of itself, a will to live. Through starvation, sickness, torture and brutality, surrounded by death and despair, man can endure it all, he can even gain something from it, so long as he has a reason to keep going. Each individual has a different source of meaning, yet no matter what the cause, the meaning alone is what gives that man the drive to wake up each morning and endure whatever life sends his way. Even when faced with death itself, man can survive if he has a reason to.
This book was written specifically about the Holocaust and the concentration camps. Nonetheless, there is a life-changing lesson that one can learn from reading the book, no matter what his life circumstances may be. Life is full of challenges, but those challenges eventually cause a person to question who he is and what he stands for, thereby forcing him to determine the meaning in his life. No matter where a person comes from, and no matter where he is headed, he must have a purpose in his life in order to move forward, and to be able to look back at the end of his life and feel proud of all that he accomplished. In a brilliant and insightful way, Victor Frankl has ultimately handed his readers the key to success and happiness, and the answer to many questions; he has affirmed that above all, meaning is what makes life worth living.
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