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Some meandering thoughts on:

Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

Posted: 12/30/2020

I read Man's Search for Meaning because Rhiannon's advisor got it for her for the holidays. A little melodramatic if you ask me. PhDs aren't that bad. The book made me think I should seek out more meaning in my life. I guess what prompted me to start my PhD was intellectual curiosity into mathematics. It's faded a little bit and now I feel like I'm eeking out a vaguely meaningless existence. Sort of, I don't want to be too melodramatic. But maybe Frankel primed me to be.

As a rule I'm very skeptical about psychology. People love to bash Freud as essentially pseudoscience and I've always thought it's a little strange because from my perspective it doesn't seem like the field is in a healthier state now than then. Not that I really know anything about it. It's possible I take the replication crisis too seriously.

That being said Frankl's book is certainly inspiring. The first half of the book is about Frankl's experience in the camps. The second part is about Frankl's psychotherapy practice of logotherapy. The central message as I understood it is something like: Life is meaningful no matter what. A lot (most?) of human suffering comes not knowing what one's meaning in life is, or believing life has no meaning.