Before I read, Man’s Search for Meaning, I knew very little about Viktor Frankl other than he was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps from World War II.
This book was suggested to me from a former sales trainer. Not your average sales book, I’d say.
I had heard about concentration camps in social studies class in Jr.High and High School. I had also learned about these camps from movies about the war.
Although in school, or through movies, I learnt about gas chamber, Auschwitz, death, hard labor and the horrible conditions it was still something I did not understand.
I do not believe any book, movie or conversation can begin to help you see the pain, suffering and unbelievable death that occurred. I do believe it is important to understand and talk about what happen.
Reading Man’s Search for Meaning allowed me to understand the thoughts of the people going through the hardships, dead and unspeakable torment.
There were many surprises in Viktor’s book. Things I never imaged one person can do to another. Yet reading this book allowed me to understand through all the torment, one could still hope for the best.
Like the POW (Prisoner of War) who is locked up and images freedom. What life would look like after they are free. They picture all the wonderful things to come. The prisoner did not just focus on the daily struggle they found ways to look past it.
Man’s Search for Meaning
You may have heard of award-winning movie, Life is Beautiful. Before reading this book, this was the closest conditions I could imagine.
I assumed what Viktor experience would be similar. I would say there was some truth in the movie.
When you read his book, use your imagination. You can picture much more than pain, hurt, suffering, death, destruction and happiness.
As I read Viktor’s book, I wrote down some of the most impactful thoughts that came to me. I believe these thoughts helped me understand the horrific events at the Nazi camps and will help you also.
25 Lessons I Learned
- Understand this or not but we are all on a quest to find the purpose for our life.
- You can lose everything in life but you get to choose how you react. I believe this is something the Dali Lama said also.
- Men can create unthinkable situations to put others in. Situations none of us would want to ever experience. Yet there were men brave enough to walk through those experiences and face certain death.
- In life, you and I will face tough decisions. In these tough moments we develop our character, a backbone and the understand of what we stand for.
- To gain real understanding, you must first detach yourself from all your own experiences. Click To Tweet
- Learn to experience just being. Do not react to everything that happens to you.
- Remember, if you see enough pain and suffering, in your life, you can become desensitized to it. Once desensitized you walk around in a dazed existence.
- The heart and the mind of man is resilient. Humans have a nature ability to want to survive even when others around us are dying.
- In the camps human contact, even punishment, was not always given. If you don’t have human contact your souls dies even more.
Even the most terrible people who hurt, kill or cause pain, can look out for you and show you some kindness.
- To ‘Love Everyone Unconditionally’ is the goal we must have before we pass away.
- In isolation, you can create relationships with people you love, dead or alive. These conversations can help you carry on. They can give you strength and a will to live.
- After being in terrible conditions for so long, your mind begins to look for the beauty in everything that surrounds you.
- Laughing and having a sense of humor will change the way you look at your life.
- Life is about looking at the bright side even through you are surrounded by negative.
- A photograph tells the story from many different perspectives. Don’t just looks at the photo from your perspective. Try to put yourself in different places or people shoes. See it the photo from the view points for others.
- Every decision you and I make, or don’t make, takes us towards a new fate, life, journey and outcome.
- In suffering, one can find all the lessons of life. If you can learn from distress you can become spiritually and consciously free. Click To Tweet
- Nature is a good teacher if we can take a few moments and listen to what it has to say.
We must practice compassion for others while we search for the meaning of our life.
- Did you know, the smallest gesture of compassion from your enemy can change your outlook for a few moments?
- If you ask most people they will tell you making more money is second when it come to our search for meaning.
- How do you see suffering? Is suffering your teacher or is suffering what you must overcome at any cost?
- Finding meaning for your life gives you a clear reason to carry on even when you are faced with hard times.
- If one does not have a will to live, he or she will, if they can find significance.
Being in these terrible conditions for the prisoners may have started as an emotional rollercoaster but the emotions were all downhill after a small moment of hope. The cruel and unimaginable conditions in the Nazi concentration camps were put in place to systematically break down everyone at these camps.
As I read Viktor’s accounts and experience, I wondered how this book would be written if one of the guards or high-ranking officers were to write the book.
What perspective would they give? Would they talk about pleasure or the hardship, pain and suffering they must have endured?
Reading this book made me wonder if I was in the camps, could I forgive my wrong doers when the war ended. Would I hold hate in your heart for the men who put you through this unimaginable hell.
The next time you meet anyone in the arm please thank them for putting their life at risk.
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