Click here to Download Mans Search for Meaning PDF Book by Viktor Frankl Language English having PDF Size 1.1 MB and No of Pages 224.
THIS BOOK HAS NOW LIVED TO SEE ITS SEVENTYthird printing in English – in addition to having been published in nineteen other languages. And the English editions alone have sold almost two and a half million copies. These are the dry facts, and they may well be the reason why reporters of American newspapers and particularly of American TV stations more often than not start their interviews.
Mans Search for Meaning PDF Book by Viktor Frankl
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After listing these facts, by exclaiming: “Dr. Frankl, your book has become a true bestseller – how do you feel about such a success?” Whereupon I react by reporting that in the first place I do not at all see in the bestseller status of my book so much an achievement and accomplishment on my part as an expression of the misery of our time: if hundreds of thousands of people reach out for a book whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life.
It must be a question that burns under their fingernails. I had none of this in mind when I wrote the book in 1945. And I did so within nine successive days and with the firm determination that the book would be published anonymously. In fact, the first printing of the original German version does not show my name on the cover, though at the last moment, just before the book’s initial publication.
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I did finally give in to my friends who had urged me to let it be published with my name at least on the title page. At first, however, it had been written with the absolute conviction that, as an anonymous opus, it could never earn its author literary fame. I had wanted simply to convey to the reader by way of a concrete example that life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable ones.
And I thought that if the point were demonstrated in a situation as extreme as that in a concentration camp, my book might gain a hearing. I therefore felt responsible for writing down what I had gone through, for I thought it might be helpful to people who are prone to despair. And so it is both strange and remarkable to me that – among some dozens of books.
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I have authored – precisely this one, which I had intended to be published anonymously so that it could never build up any reputation on the part of the author, did become a success. THIS BOOK DOES NOT CLAIM TO BE AN ACCOUNT OF facts and events but of personal experiences, experiences which millions of prisoners have suffered time and again. It is the inside story of a concentration camp, told by one of its survivors.
This tale is not concerned with the great horrors, which have already been described often enough (though less often believed), but with the multitude of small torments. In other words, it will try to answer this question: How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner? Most of the events described here did not take place in the large and famous camps, but in the small ones where most of the real extermination took place.
This story is not about the suffering and death of great heroes and martyrs, nor is it about the prominent Capos – prisoners who acted as trustees, having special privileges – or well-known prisoners. Thus it is not so much concerned with the sufferings of the mighty, but with the sacrifices, the crucifixion and the deaths of the great army of unknown and unrecorded victims. Mans Search for Meaning PDF Book
It was these common prisoners, who bore no distinguishing marks on their sleeves, whom the Capos really despised. While these ordinary prisoners had little or nothing to eat, the Capos were never hungry; in fact many of the Capos fared better in the camp than they had in their entire lives. Often they were harder on the prisoners than were the guards, and beat them more cruelly than the SS men did.
These Capos, of course, were chosen only from those prisoners whose characters promised to make them suitable for such procedures, and if they did not comply with what was expected of them, they were immediately demoted. They soon became much like the SS men and the camp wardens and may be judged on a similar psychological basis. It is easy for the outsider to get the wrong conception of camp life, a conception mingled with sentiment and pity.
Little does he know of the hard fight for existence which raged among the prisoners. This was an unrelenting struggle for daily bread and for life itself, for one’s own sake or for that of a good friend. Let us take the case of a transport which was officially announced to transfer a certain number of prisoners to another camp; but it was a fairly safe guess that its final destination would be the gas chambers. Mans Search for Meaning PDF Book
A selection of sick or feeble prisoners incapable of work would be sent to one of the big central camps which were fitted with gas chambers and crematoriums. The selection process was the signal for a free fight among all the prisoners, or of group against group. To discover that there was any semblance of art in a concentration camp must be surprise enough for an outsider.
But he may be even more astonished to hear that one could find a sense of humor there as well; of course, only the faint trace of one, and then only for a few seconds or minutes. Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation. It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.
I practically trained a friend of mine who worked next to me on the building site to develop a sense of humor. I suggested to him that we would promise each other to invent at least one amusing story daily, about some incident that could happen one day after our liberation. He was a surgeon and had been an assistant on the staff of a large hospital. Mans Search for Meaning PDF Book
So I once tried to get him to smile by describing to him how he would be unable to lose the habits of camp life when he returned to his former work. On the building site (especially when the supervisor made his tour of inspection) the foreman encouraged us to work faster by shouting: “Action! Action!” I told my friend, “One day you will be back in the operating room, performing a big abdominal operation.
Sometimes the other men invented amusing dreams about the future, such as forecasting that during a future dinner engagement they might forget themselves when the soup was served and beg the hostess to ladle it “from the bottom.” The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.
Yet it is possible to practice the art of living even in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent. To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Mans Search for Meaning PDF Book Download
Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative. It also follows that a very trifling thing can cause the greatest of joys. Take as an example something that happened on our journey from Auschwitz to the camp affiliated with Dachau. We had all been afraid that our transport was heading for the Mauthausen camp. We became more and more tense as we approached a certain bridge over the Danube which the train would have to cross to reach Mauthausen.
According to the statement of experienced traveling companions. Another time we saw a group of convicts pass our work site. How obvious the relativity of all suffering appeared to us then! We envied those prisoners their relatively well-regulated, secure and happy life. They surely had regular opportunities to take baths, we thought sadly.
They surely had toothbrushes and clothesbrushes, mattresses – a separate one for each of them – and monthly mail bringing them news of the whereabouts of their relatives, or at least of whether they were still alive or not. We had lost all that a long time ago. And how we envied those of us who had the opportunity to get into a factory and work in a sheltered room! It was everyone’s wish to have such a lifesaving piece of luck. Mans Search for Meaning PDF Book Download
The scale of relative luck extends even further. Even among those detachments outside the camp (in one of which I was a member) there were some units which were considered worse than others. One could envy a man who did not have to wade in deep, muddy clay on a steep slope emptying the tubs of a small field railway for twelve hours daily. Most of the daily accidents occurred on this job, and they were often fatal.
In other work parties the foremen maintained an apparently local tradition of dealing out numerous blows, which made us talk of the relative luck of not being under their command, or perhaps of being under it only temporarily. Once, by an unlucky chance, I got into such a group. A realistic fear, like the fear of death, cannot be tranquilized away by its psychodynamic interpretation.
On the other hand, a neurotic fear, such as agoraphobia, cannot be cured by philosophical understanding. However, logotherapy has developed a special technique to handle such cases, too. To understand what is going on whenever this technique is used, we take as a starting point a condition which is frequently observed in neurotic individuals, namely, anticipatory anxiety. It is characteristic of this fear that it produces precisely that of which the patient is afraid. Mans Search for Meaning PDF Book Free
An individual, for example, who is afraid of blushing when he enters a large room and faces many people will actually be more prone to blush under these circumstances. In this context, one might amend the saying “The wish is father to the thought” to “The fear is mother of the event.” Ironically enough, in the same way that fear brings to pass what one is afraid of, likewise a forced intention makes impossible what one forcibly wishes.
This excessive intention, or “hyper-intention,” as I call it, can be observed particularly in cases of sexual neurosis. The more a man tries to demonstrate his sexual potency or a woman her ability to experience orgasm, the less they are able to succeed. Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself.
Let me recall a case. A young physician consulted me because of his fear of perspiring. Whenever he expected an outbreak of perspiration, this anticipatory anxiety was enough to precipitate excessive sweating. In order to cut this circle formation I advised the patient, in the event that sweating should recur, to resolve deliberately to show people how much he could sweat. Mans Search for Meaning PDF Book Free
A week later he returned to report that whenever he met anyone who triggered his anticipatory anxiety, he said to himself, “I only sweated out a quart before, but now I’m going to pour at least ten quarts!” The result was that, after suffering from his phobia for four years, he was able, after a single session, to free himself permanently of it within one week.
The reader will note that this procedure consists of a reversal of the patient’s attitude, inasmuch as his fear is replaced by a paradoxical wish. By this treatment, the wind is taken out of the sails of the anxiety. Such a procedure, however, must make use of the specifically human capacity for self-detachment inherent in a sense of humor.