In this special episode of the podcast I wanted to respond to a listener request by offering some takeaways from the globally renowned book Man’s Search For Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. I’ve mentioned this book in past episodes when discussing the importance of living a life of purpose with various guests, because at the end of the day Frankl’s message regarding the importance of finding purpose and meaning in life is core to the whole point of this podcast. This is not intended to be a summary by any means, and is certainly not a scholarly attempt to interpret what Frankl wrote in 1946 - but perhaps my amateur musings about such an amazing piece of literature will inspire you to get a copy this important book so you can see for yourself the conclusions that might be reached.
When I interview guests I’m always interested in the processes and stories about what makes their particular journey, craft, skill, or art so unique, but I’m even more interested in the purpose behind those processes. Frankl’s book offers insights as to why purpose is so important to all of us, and how finding meaning in our lives (and even the process of setting out to do so) can help us to overcome many emotional, mental, and even physical challenges.
I hope you enjoy part 1 of this special 2 part series, which covers:
Life in the concentration camps of WW 2
How they could tell when a prisoner had lost the will to live, and what that meant for them
The delusion of reprieve
Is it true that people can get used to just about anything?
What does it mean that “love” is the ultimate and highest purpose?
The importance of taking refuge in the inner-life
Humor as a weapon for saving the soul
Freedom from suffering as a form of negative happiness
How attempting to avoid suffering can often cause it
The importance of paying attention to inward peace (or lack thereof) in making our choices
The last of human freedoms: to be worthy of your sufferings
The dangers of retrospective living
The importance of naming our emotions
How loss of hope can have a deadly effect
The two races of men
Tara Brach’s article “Tea with Mara”