Naturally, most of us humans are pleasure-seeking creatures which does almost everything for the fulfillment of desires and sometimes, for purely “earthly or animalistic” satisfaction even if it produces harmful consequences. This sometimes comes from the accumulation of wealth or money, gaining social power, having promiscuous lifestyle, gambling and other extreme addictions, and even from harming or oppressing others. However, what is great is that there are many people who took the other way and explore the unknown, so to speak, in the midst of inevitable condition during the moment of their serious struggle. One of them is a philosopher and psychologist born in Vienna, Austria. Along with other important philosophers of our time, he used this situation to bring an important message of hope for humanity by showing the positive natural characteristics we have that are essential for the survival and evolution of our kind. For decades, this thinker have inspired so many people around the world by having sense of purpose and meaning by understanding the importance of responsibility, social and individual.
I am talking about Viktor Frankl, the author of the remarkable book that sold tens of millions of copies titled “Man’s Search for Meaning”. It is about his experiences in the concentration camp during the Nazi Germany era and how he sees the condition he’s in at that time, which is suffering, through optimistic and empathic perspectives to explore the different human facets during crisis and draw answers and solutions from them. Viktor Frankl is an example of human resiliency and the symbol of human virtuous nature, extracting substantial meaning from the lessons of the one of our very dark moments in history, the so-called Nazi holocaust. Written in 1945, this book inspired the following generations to transcend beyond their circumstances and carry the flag of human glory amidst the most difficult times; to find meaning from these sufferings and see the right path and the light for the coming world. Thus, Viktor Frankl’s wonderful book encouraged many individuals to have a stronger will to survive amidst difficult challenges instead of wilting, bending, or withering.
In this book, he presented the horrors of this time using his strong mental attitude, which is of course to make things possible. Instead of giving up and dwelling in hopelessness, Viktor Frankl use the strengths he has to show the world how the concentration camps of Auschwitz and others looks like during those times. Along with his sharp philosophical insights, he used his knowledge in psychology to make sense of his experiences as a conscious moral human being able to comprehend and define circumstances and things, destined to be in that remarkably unfortunate situation. During these moments Frankl has been fascinated by some people who are still “generous” and still holds the diamond in their hearts, sometimes, regardless of the dangerous consequences they might receive from forbidden actions such as helping other prisoners. Sometimes, sad to say, it is out of fear that a person commits a horrible act. However, Frankl praised this positive predisposition our species have and encourage us to develop this ability to choose our attitude towards any situation, guided by our inner principles, our ability to value right over wrong, for us to beat the problems of our lives.
If you want to read a book that could surely motivate you and gives you more understanding of our greatest human potentials and our incredible capacity to feel compassion and empathy even during the most critical and hard times, you should really read Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. In this work, he did a great service to humanity by bringing messages for our future and for teaching people to discover and value our collective purpose and the realities that are greater than ourselves; for us to be aligned to our true creative and dynamic spirit. This will help you look at suffering and sacrifices in a more profound sense and provides you insights on how to use them for your freedom and growth. Although, it is true that it will be so disrespectful to disregard the prisoner’s experiences during those times, and for many, it was totally obviously unfortunate, we must also remember that if we want to choose the right way, to help alleviate or lessen the suffering, which is a constant condition of life, it is helpful to draw something from our experiences that provides solution or answers to our collective trials and tribulations instead of getting stuck on helplessness and victimhood.