Item description for Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning by Victor Frankl...
Overview Frankl explores the sometimes unconscious human desire for inspiration or revelation, and illustrates how life can offer profound meaning at every turn.
Publishers Description Viktor Frankl is known to millions of readers as a psychotherapist who has transcended his field in his search for answers to the ultimate questions of life, death, and suffering. "Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning" explores the sometime unconscious human desire for inspiration or revelation, and illustrates how life can offer profound meaning at every turn.
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Studio: Basic Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.57" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.56" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date Aug 11, 2000
Publisher Basic Books
ISBN 0738203548 ISBN13 9780738203546
Availability 0 units.
More About Victor Frankl
Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997) developed the revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy, founded on the belief that humanity's primary motivational force is the search for meaning. One of the great psychotherapists of this century, he was head of the neurological department of the Vienna Polyclinic Hospital for twenty-five years and is the author of thirty-one works on philosophy, psychotherapy, and neurology, including the classic Man's Search for Meaning, which has sold over nine million copies around the world.
Reviews - What do customers think about Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning?
Hard reading but interesting and useful. May 21, 2008
I enjoyed parts of this book, but not all of it, for I couldn't understand most of it. This is a book to read more than once to really understand, unless you are a psychologist. I will certainly read it again; I am sure I missed a lot of important and useful information.
A lot of the material has to do with the interpretation of dreams, and about the theories of Freud. I also found the book too technical for the average reader, and found it confusing at times. For example, the author says, "Here it is not the ego that becomes conscious of the id but rather the self that becomes conscious of itself." I did take a few psychology courses back in school, but I still find such statements difficult to grasp and comprehend. Are such statements merely a play with words? Or should an effort be made to understand such statements? And is my understanding of such a statement the correct one as meant by the author? Without some training in psychology I do find some statements and theories hard to grasp.
In a nutshell, the book is about the human need to find meaning in daily life. The author believes that man doesn't ask, "What is the meaning of life?" but rather life asks man that very profound question. That's a very interesting statement, but again, is it just a play with words? Is Life a living entity, or are we the living entities contained in Life? In other words, can Life ask us questions?
For the author, the deep root of human meaning lies not in drives and desires, but in spirituality and responsibility. But what is responsibility, and what is spirituality? We all have different beliefs, and we all have different responsibilities. Is there a unifying global theory for all human beliefs and responsibilities? Such statements made it hard for me to relate to this book.
According to the author, in order to be truly whole, we must integrate not just the mind and body, but the spirit as well. Only by exploring and coming to terms with our spiritual selves will we come to be our true selves. But this is confusing. What does he mean by the body? Is the body a thinking organism like the mind, or is the mind contained in the body? And what is the difference between the mind and the brain? Is the mind contained in the brain? Not obvious, the mind could very well be in the heart, or somewhere else. And what is the spirit, and where is it? Is the spirit contained in our body, or exterior of it? Does the spirit exist at all, or is the spirit the mind? We are delving into a territory that cannot be proven by science. Science has not yet proven the existence of a spirit. If a spirit does exist, does it too die at death, or is our spirit a non-physical entity?
I think to really understand this book and enjoy it one has to first be able to define many terms used in the book, such as id, legotherapy, existential analysis, mind, spirit etc... One thing is for sure, I did get interested in learning more about psychology and Freud. But honestly, I'm still as much baffled about my true meaning of life as when I first started reading and finished reading this book. This book was not a quick fix to my ultimate meaning in life, but the publisher does claim that this book has changed the lives of millions of people. But religious books, such as the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, the Bhagavad-Gita, just to name a few, have also changed the lives of millions and given them the answers to man's search for the ultimate meaning of life.
There were some very interesting and enjoyable passages in the book that are useful in one's path to the ultimate meaning of life. For example, the author says that man has deeper motivations than pleasure or power. I do agree. We all have (I think) the need to serve something beyond ourselves. The author says that we are most fully human by loving unselfishly and/or by serving a higher cause. Isn't this the essence of all religions?
I did like the passages on the interpretation of dreams, especially those of prisoners and suicidal persons. Even criminals subconsciously search for and find the meaning to life through their dreams!
There is a nice story about a woman trying to save a scorpion from drowning. Every time she reaches out to grab the scorpion to lift him out of the water, the scorpion stings her. A man watching this scene unfold in front of his eyes is baffled at the insistence of the woman to save the scorpion. After seeing her stung by the scorpion repeatedly, and seeing her in extreme pain and on the verge of death from the scorpion's poison, he screams at her to stop trying to save the scorpion. He says, "Can't you see it is the scorpion's nature to sting you. Why are you still trying to save it?" The woman answers him, "Can't you see that it is in my nature to save it, so why should I stop trying?" In other words, because it is in her nature to save the scorpion, she can't stop herself from this act. Is our ultimate meaning in life determined by our instinctive actions?
The Unconscious God Dec 23, 2007
I named my review, The Unconscious God, because that was one of the former titles of this book. In fact, I own a copy and all of the chapters have the same names/content. Viktor Frankl may have felt that his Freudian sounding title from the past was embarrassing in an age when many of Freud's ideas have been shown to be circular in reasoning as well as unscientific. Not only that, but I wonder if Dr. Frankl may have changed the name of the book so that people don't see what it's really about. It's about god, not "meaning" generally and the title change seems a bit deceptive. Anyway, I think that the book shows many of Frankl's intentions when he wrote books such as "Man's Search for Meaning." He ultimately thinks that a concept of God is a human universal, important to ALL human beings. I argue that his evidence for this idea is lacking. For instance, he primarily cites case studies and anecdotal accounts. While we're on the subject of evidence, the quality of Frankl's citations is severely lacking. He cites almost no articles from high quality scientific journals. Most of the journal articles he cites as evidence are from journals that would publish just about anything.
If you are interested in a less biased, more parsimonious and scientific account of religion, I recommend reading Pascal Boyer's "Religion Explained." Boyer offers a more plausible account of how religion developed and also what aspects of religion are actually known to be universal in all humans (through studies of all known cultures, including the very isolated tribal cultures of the world). Unlike Frankl, Boyer does not try to use the "unconscious" as a mental construct to describe religion's function. He doesn't postulate entities unnecessarily.Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought
I also recommend Donald Brown's book entitled "Human Universals" for another scientific anthropological account of what all humans appear to have in common (he mentions "religious" ideas). Belief in a god is not a human universal. This obviously undermines Frankl's theory that every man has a secret preoccupation with a god.Human Universals
Obviously, it took courage and resilience to get through living in a concentration camp. However, I wonder if this personal experience may have contributed to bias in Frankl. He seems to engage in more wishful thinking than critical thinking. Sometimes, just because a belief helped one of us get through a hard time, we assume it to be true. It's unfortunate that even someone as intelligent as Viktor Frankl can succumb to this temptation. I am sure that many of Frankl's beliefs are meaningful to him in a personal sense, but it doesn't make them true and it seems that he is acting more like a prophet (having a revelation during persecution in a concentration camp and spreading his revealed religion to others) than a social scientist. Due to his bias, lack of evidence for his theory, lack of critical inquiry and lack of scientific thinking, I gave the book one star. The book should not be in a psychology section of a book store. It should be part of a biography of Frankl's life wherein he talks about his personal beliefs. It is not a scientific work.
In addition, for a philosophical work that contradicts Frankl's conception of "religion" and completely reframes the discourse, I recommend Donald Crosby's book "A Religion of Nature." In it, he suggests a religion wherein nature is held to the highest metaphysical significance and we hold a reverence for nature, not god. He wrote a book on nihilism entitled "Specter of the Absurd: Sources and Criticisms of Modern Nihilism," which is another academic philosophical work wherein he actually argues that the source of nihilism came from religion. As a professor of philosophy, he is knowledgeable about the problem of nihilism, but his conclusions are far different from Frankl's. I just recommend Crosby's book as an example of a completely different way of framing the problem of nihilism and the solution.A Religion of Nature
Away with the existential vacuum! May 28, 2007
"We psychiatrists are neither teachers nor preachers but have to learn from the man in the street, from his ... self-understanding, what being human is all about". Of all those who applied existentialism to psychotherapy and to the efforts of human beings to help themselves, perhaps none has done so with as much wisdom as Viktor Frankl.
Although I didn't connect with the first 50 or so pages of this book, after that I was challenged and inspired by Frankl. His concerns, the "existential vacuum", the depressing impact of an "indoctrination into reductionism", the irreducibility of our experience, "responsibility as the essence of existence", these are well worth being reminded of.
That a "machine model" or "rat model" is not the best way to view human beings, does it seem such a revelation? Frankl observed how some young people had begun to view their ideals and altruism as hangups, how they had been engaging in fruitless "hidden motive" games. He wondered if behavioral scientific therapeutic programs didn't fail to take into account the specialness of people to find meaning, to transcend and to detach themselves from their situations. He called for responsibility and a recognition that we all proceed into the unknowable.
Frankl's approach is quite different from that of Freud, Jung, Skinner or even Rogers (Frankl at least credits in this book Rogers with "de-ideologizing psychotherapy"). His work still lives on, as for example in the United States through the Franklian Psychology (Logotherapy/Existential Analysis)doctoral program offered through Graduate Theological Foundation. Frankl himself, as he makes clear in this book, suggested a concept of spirituality and religion that "goes far beyond the narrow concepts of God as they are promulgated by some representatives of denominational religion", one that encompassed even atheism.
It would seem unfortunate if Frankl and his existential analysis that assumed a "will to meaning" were forgotten. Existentialism remains one of the great reponses of Western civilization to the challenges of life and Viktor Frankl one of its best practical advocates. I realize I need to read more about Frankl, logotherapy and existential analysis in general. It may be the best expression of a sacred view of being human we have in the West.
the no.1 principle for success Dec 29, 2006
Please all my friends who are visitng this blog, I am sure you are here because you want to be successful. Me Too. I've read more than 100 self-help books, attended 20+ seminars, listened more than 30 audiobooks, and here is the MOST IMPORTANT rule for success - Do Something You Like. You Are Passionate About. You Will Do It For Free Anyways. This is the ONLY way, and Please Never Settle for Less. Here is WHY:
How do you define success? You can only be successful when you are being who you are. Period. Success cannot be measured by a yardstick as society always teaches us. There are times that what you really love to do doesn't look very promising, that your dad and mom tell you "Honey how about doing this instead that because this will secure you a job!". But, nothing can secure you a job if you nowadays. The only way to win is to be the BEST in your field. This is what important. What you do is not important AS LONG AS you are the BEST in what you do. And How can you be the BEST in what you do? You have to earn the competition with others who are doing the same thing as you. And, Psychologist Professor Tal Ben-Shahar at Harvard Univeristy said that you will find the things you love easy for you! And this is the secret for success! You are surely to win when you are doing something easy for you when others are not. They are struggling and you are enjoying. 8 hours feel like 1 hours for you but 16 for them. So, who will be more efficient, more creative, more energetic, more effective, more confident, more productive, more...more...? Of course YOU. And what's more important is that you will feel SATISFIED because you are actualizing yourself. - Self-Actualization is the HIGHEST pursue for human beings. You are being whom you are meant to be, fulfulling your meanings for this life. Meaning is all that matters! If you haven't got a chance to read Dr. Viktor E. Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning", I really urge you grab a copy. It is the pursuit of meaning that make Dr. Frankl survive the more than 3 years in concentration camps and became one of the most important thinkers and psychologists after Freud and Adler, as commented by The American Journal of Psychatry. So, please do something you like. Your success lies in there. So is your meaning.
I didn't get it Jul 27, 2004
Man's Search for Meaning is my bible for life. I so anticipated digging into Volume 2, couldn't imagine it could get any better, it didn't.
You need a PHD in Pysch to read the first page and I only made it to Chapter 4 and I couldn't figure out what he was even trying to say. The verbage alone requires a dictionary, but my arm got tired looking up every other word.
His first book was so rich in real life examples and touching experiences I was filled with tears of joy. This book is as if Victor lived his whole life in the ivory tower talking to other suits.