Dr Viktor E. Frankl and his family were first arrested by Nazi German Authority for the reason he was Jewish and in coming days of his narration, his entire family got perished except him. After that, he was subjected to live a life where not only his wealth and family were completely eliminated but even the basic right of human was denied. To share some of the vicious treatments by Nazi’s, they stripped him off all his clothes except his shoes and belt and even shaved all his hair in the body, to which he compellingly wrote with humor in it that, "we knew that we had nothing to lose except our ridiculously naked lives.’’ What is more disgraceful in the concentration camp was they were not even allowed to call by each other names but rather with a number like 119,104. He was made to rely on the piece of bread or very thin soup for most of the days and have to share a piece of a mattress with nine other friends in extremely cold or bitter weather. See, how lucky we are and still complaining???
My eyes lit up in the way he artfully expresses how he finds meaning in his existence and the way he believes and decodes that “if there is suffering in life, there must be meaning in it, too.” He is moving in a way he codes happiness with nature, his tolerant attitude despite the brutal treatment, how he intellectually deal with the injustice and how genuine he is to his friends (both weak and strong), which I find is radically beautiful and a rare personage. In nutshell, experiencing such tragic life where he saw a man dying due to loss of hope, hunger, sickness, execution or gassing and some surviving with hopes for love, inner freedom and taking responsibility for one’s life eventually led to his famous theory of logotherapy.
“For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run - in the long run, I say! - success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.”
Part 2: Summary on Logotherapy
Logotherapy, which is understood in plain term as finding meaning in one’s life was articulated to be a primary driving force of human existence. It sparked the light of my curiosity by answering most of our thought provoking question on how to find meaning in one’s life. That is, first by questioning oneself about what is the meaning of life and then answering oneself in a responsible way and additionally by understanding and putting into practice of his three other highlights.
Dr. Frankl highlights that the meaning in life to be discovered in three different ways:
Creating a Work or doing a Deed
Experiencing Something or Encountering Someone
This is expected to be done by cherishing nature, goodness, truth, culture, beauty and most importantly by knowing other person and loving them. In logotherapy, love doesn’t highlight the sexual drive (it is said that sex is just seen as one of means to express love) but discovering the innermost beauty of someone’s personality and enabling them to see their worth in achieving their truest potential is true love.
- Attitude we Take toward Unavoidable Suffering.
It believes that even at one’s hopeless situation and in a face of tragedy, one can be hopeful and take an optimistic approach to it rather than avoiding those challenges.