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The book is divided into two parts. Part one is entitled the experiences in a concentration camp. The second part is referred to as the logotherapy, in a nutshell. Editions released after 1984, have postscript making a case for the tragic optimism. The sections in the books do not have any chapters. The first part of the book focuses on the experiences of the author in the prison. The second part explains the technical aspects of psychological theory. The theory that he advances is called logotherapy. The prevalent and general theme of the book is on the finding of the right meaning of life. Therefore, the life of a person has a meaning the person has to understand the meaning of his life to survive. The experiences of the author in the concentration camp exposes the importance of having meaning in life.
Prisoners in the German concentration camps survived due to the sense that they apportioned to their lives. The development of meaning in life led to the increased chances of survival. The worst that one could do in the camps was to lose meaning of life and what it had for them. The meaning of life led to the development of tenacity in a person that made it possible for him to endure (Frankl, 1997). The emphasis of the running theme was that any person can define what is meaningful and apportion the meaning that he accords to the same thing. However, there are three other sub-ideas.
One idea that he proposes is that loves have a role to play in the development of meaning in life. All aspects of love can be major sources of inspiration for loving to the people that are in love. Therefore, if a person has another person that is close to him, the meaning of life will come from the person. The will to live exists for the individual. The willingness of the person can be cut in the event that the loved one dies. The assertion is correct since love is the primary driver of action on most of the societies. Loving one another is the prerequisite for the human existence since people are social by nature. The need for an emotional connection generates love. As long as the connection is still there, the life of a person has a meaning (Frankl, 1997).
People make difficult decisions based on love. The feeling is probably one of the largest feelings in the world. Therefore, the actions of the population will always be aligned with the religion. Making the decisions in life according to love means that the love relationships is one of the main reasons for the development of the desire to survive. People live or die for love. Therefore, the assertions made by the author on the role of love in the decision making of the individual are true (Frankl, 1997). The pursuit of the more than single life and the need to relate is so high such that the lives of most of the people that are genuinely in love is founded on the interests of each other. The make their decisions in consideration of the effects of the same to the next person.
Love based relationships could be love for the nation (patriotism) romantic love, family love or even friendship. In the case of nationalism, the people make their decisions with the interest of the nation in mind (Frankl, 1997). The purpose of the Patriots is the increment of the standard of living and other aspects in the country. They are focused on the improvement of their country and society. Therefore, all their life efforts are directed towards the development of the nation. They have the goal of ensuring that they cater for the needs of all the people in the nation. The love for the country could lead to the assumption of irrational decisions.
However, they are often less concerned about the entire system (Frankl, 1997). They often assume that the harm or consequences of their actions are just results of the bid to attain means to an end. Therefore, the business concern on the injury of self or other people in the nation rarely features. Love is the driving force in the world. Therefore, the author theoretical perception of the meaning of life from love point of view is accurate and representative of the largest sections of the community (Frankl, 1997).
The second source of the sense of life is religion. Religion plays a vital role in the determination of the behavior that one assumes. The belief that there is a divine power that ordains all things that happen in life is the main motivation for living among the pious members. This assertion is true since when things are not working out; most of the people seek the insight provided by the religion. Religion defines the acceptable behavior and the unacceptable one. Therefore, the religion sets the boundaries in which the believer operates (Frankl, 1997).
The belief of a person is the ultimate determinant of the set of actions that he will take in dealing with some issues. Therefore, the religion gives the person the approach that he or she will use in life. With the faith, the person is assured of a certain approach to issues then his life is ordered. Most of the religions promise the followers rewards for living in a particular manner (Frankl, 1997). The reward system in the religion comes after death. This leads to the attainment of the motivation to live according to the teachings of the religion.
It also encourages the followers of the religion to live according to the teachings regardless of the situation that they are in. This is why some people will avoid taking courses of actions that will naturally improve their lives for the retention of the change of getting into heaven. The religion beliefs of the people are, therefore the main drivers of action. The promise of rewards in the second life of the individual world is the determinant of the direction of the relationships between the members. Therefore, the life has a meaning since it is part of the process of attaining the goals of the second life (Frankl, 1997).
Third source of meaning in life is suffering. The idea is that one can derive meaning from the unwanted events in his life. Such events can be the source of meaning in life such that one suffers in a bid to honor a person or an event. This theme is not traditional. I do not agree with the idea of the suffering of an individual is undesired. Therefore, ensuring that the pain ends the primary goal. One cannot derive meaning from the unpleasant events. Only lessons can be attained from the suffering (Frankl, 1997).
"Everything can be taken… but one thing the last of human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance, to choose ones on the way." The quote is accurate since the primary driver of action in life is the power to have a free will over all aspects even in jail. Therefore, freedom is a state of mind (Frankl, 1997).
“Those who have a ‘why' to love can bear with almost any ‘how.' The quote is also accurate since it focuses on the primary driver for action. Life direction depends on the assumed purpose. The final quote is “… an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” The quote focuses on the definition of the acceptable behaviors in the society. The response to a particular behavior depends on the classification of the behavior as normal or abnormal (Frankl, 1997).
Frankl, V. (1997). Man's search for ultimate meaning. New York: Insight Books.
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