“Striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man.” This is man’s absolute motivational force, according to Viktor E. Frankl. He goes on, “That is why I speak of a will to meaning.”
Man’s Search for Meaning
Frankl became a psychiatrist before he became a death camp inmate, and then a survivor. The experience taught him much, and he imparts it with grace and clarity in “Man’s Search for Meaning”.
“The last of the human freedoms”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
“The Will to Meaning”
Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a “secondary rationalization” of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning. There are some authors who contend that meanings and values are “nothing but defence mechanisms, reaction formations and sublimations.” But as for myself, I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of my “defence mechanisms,” nor would I be ready to die merely for the sake of my “reaction formations.” Man, however, is able to live and even to die for the sake of his ideals and values!
A modern ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ — in its way
For those of us searching for a quality between inspiration and reassurance, to read Frankl’s short, powerful treatise may help. I am sure that for many, this has become an oasis for those wandering in a desert of the soul.”
Read “Man’s Search for Meaning” — for no cost, in PDF