Author Topic: Man's Search for Meaning  (Read 3987 times)

big_slacker

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Man's Search for Meaning
« on: January 05, 2016, 01:06:00 PM »
Someone brought this up in the general forum in a thread about what I can't remember. But I picked it up an finished it yesterday. Great book but someone who has been through the worst life and humanity has to offer (WWII concentration camps) and came out of it with a very positive and useful philosophy. Should be available pretty much any library, well worth it!

aperture

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2016, 07:39:43 PM »
Read this book while recovering from pretty dark depression.  Viktor Frankl did a great job of looking straight into his own experience and condition.  I remember him saying something about the best people always dying fast in the camps because they shared what they had.  The survivors were selfish and kept for themselves or even took from others.  I am paraphrasing, but what struck me as brutally honest was that Frankl completed the thought by counting himself among those that were not the best. He was so honest in a sideways sort of way.  He did not name the bad things he did to survive (at least I don't remember it that way) but rather cast himself in the role of not 100% innocent at one of humanities darkest moments. 

This remains with me because I think it is one of the most honest pieces of writing I have encountered.

Adventine

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2016, 07:46:33 PM »
I read it a few years ago. Excellent, if sobering, book.

MrDelane

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2016, 07:49:57 PM »
My mother recommended this book to me years ago.  Finally after many months of her asking about it I got around to reading it (out of guilt).

Long story short, it is possibly the greatest book I've ever read and definitely had a significant impact on my life.
I've revisited it many times since and it continues to have an impact on me.

I would highly recommend it to anyone.


For those interested - here is a small clip from Frankl that I always enjoy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgVA6nXCj1U

big_slacker

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2016, 07:50:28 PM »
I remember him saying something about the best people always dying fast in the camps because they shared what they had.  The survivors were selfish and kept for themselves or even took from others.  I am paraphrasing, but what struck me as brutally honest was that Frankl completed the thought by counting himself among those that were not the best. He was so honest in a sideways sort of way.  He did not name the bad things he did to survive (at least I don't remember it that way) but rather cast himself in the role of not 100% innocent at one of humanities darkest moments. 

This remains with me because I think it is one of the most honest pieces of writing I have encountered.

That stood out with me as well. He didn't say what he did but did say something to the effect of 'The best of us did not return.' It's amazing that he made it through those camps and even more amazing that he didn't let it define his life or work after. But that speaks volumes to his approach of living for something and being responsible to it.

aperture

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2016, 01:15:05 PM »
Here are some additional film recommendations:
Shoah http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090015/ - absolutely brilliant documentary that interviews low level participants in the holocaust and walks through the remaining structures of the death camps in Europe.  I especially remember the interview with the train engineer who drove in and out of one of the death camps who said he could not have done it, except that he was paid in alcohol.
Blind Spot http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0311320/ - interview with a woman who served as one of Hitler's secretaries at the end of the war.
Downfall http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363163/?ref_=tt_trv_cnn - Hitler's secretary's story turned into a film - almost as brilliant as the documentary interview with her in Blind Spot.


aperture

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2016, 01:28:22 PM »
I almost forgot one of the best books for background and context: William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich http://www.amazon.com/The-Rise-Fall-Third-Reich/dp/1451651686  Shirer helped me understand the Nazi leadeers as a gang of thugs - similar to organized crime.  Seeing them through Shirer's eyes helped me to understand the danger of not adhering to principles honesty and the rule of law.  I can draw a dotted line between the most mundane evil and the most horrible evil ever perpetrated.

Of course if you have not been here - then visit and watch the video: http://www.fallen.io/ww2/

arebelspy

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2016, 02:26:45 PM »

Someone brought this up in the general forum in a thread about what I can't remember. But I picked it up an finished it yesterday. Great book but someone who has been through the worst life and humanity has to offer (WWII concentration camps) and came out of it with a very positive and useful philosophy. Should be available pretty much any library, well worth it!

I quoted Frankel in a post yesterday or the day before (about the last human freedom, our ability to choose our reaction), perhaps that was it?

I have to say though, and I'm obviously the odd man out here, but given all the hype this book gets, I was really, really disappointed in it.

Will write more tomorrow if I remember (it's almost midnight here).

The concept was good, but the execution was not.

(No that wasn't a pun, you sicko!)
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
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I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

big_slacker

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2016, 10:02:31 PM »
Here are some additional film recommendations:
Shoah http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090015/ - absolutely brilliant documentary that interviews low level participants in the holocaust and walks through the remaining structures of the death camps in Europe.  I especially remember the interview with the train engineer who drove in and out of one of the death camps who said he could not have done it, except that he was paid in alcohol.
Blind Spot http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0311320/ - interview with a woman who served as one of Hitler's secretaries at the end of the war.
Downfall http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363163/?ref_=tt_trv_cnn - Hitler's secretary's story turned into a film - almost as brilliant as the documentary interview with her in Blind Spot.

I've seen Downfall. I've also been to Oswieciem /Auschwitz in person, it's very sobering to see first hand and hard not to imagine yourself imprisoned there.

I'm interested to hear arebelspy's take on the book.

sui generis

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2021, 01:53:04 PM »
I'm just reading this book and appreciating it a lot.  I wasn't surprised to find a thread here about it, but I definitely anticipated that it might have more discussion of the connection to FIRE, or for people who have retired early.  I am just getting to where he is making a deep dive into how each of us have to make our own meaning of life and it struck me how hard that can be for some who retire early (as we've all seen many discussions here as well as on FIRE blogs) in the very best of situations as well as for those in the very worst of situations - living in the uncertainty and unhumanity of a concentration camp.  Surely this is why this book has such broad appeal.  Whenever we humans are taken out of our distracting routines (work, home, sleep, weekend with kids and errands, repeat) these existential questions, and the big empty of reality, hit us in the face.  And, as is quoted in this thread, all we control is our reaction to that.

I guess it's far too late to get @arebelspy's thoughts from 6 years ago.  But I wonder if any here that struggled with retiring early and the big change in life removing what they spent so much time on (saving and working) turned to this book and found it helpful. I would not say I'm struggling with ER at all but I'm appreciating the read and am about halfway through.

grantmeaname

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2021, 03:01:14 PM »
I have to say though, and I'm obviously the odd man out here, but given all the hype this book gets, I was really, really disappointed in it.
Came here to say this. Just didn't find that much that was novel in this book or expressed much better here than others have done. His personal story is powerful but I don't think he forged it into a compelling set of universal truths by any means.

EDIT: Lol, missed the necropost. @arebelspy what did you think of this on January 7, 2016?

sui generis

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Re: Man's Search for Meaning
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2021, 09:29:49 AM »
Just about done with the book now, and I can see why some readers have been disappointed. The latter half on Logotherapy, noology, the section on transitoriness....it's rambling and abstruse, though with a few quick gems.

One thing I stumbled upon that I think is apt, particularly for our political times as well as for a FIREd individual, is this quote: "Freedom, however, is not the last word.  Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth.  Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness.  In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness."