Man’s Search for Meaning: Finding the Real Purpose of Life in Frankl’s Work

June 8, 2021 by Essay Writer


In the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl, he talked about ways of finding meaning in life. One of which he talked about was creating a work or doing good deeds. One can ask what is their purpose in life, what is the meaning of their existence? And a lot of people have failed, or yet to understand, what the meaning of life is to them. Everybody in has a purpose and concentration of their existence in life, but how can you tell? For some people, it is creating, or inventing, or generating something that can stand greatly and meaningful in someone else’s life.

For most people, their purpose in life might be to help others, in this sense doing good deeds, how can we tell if one is doing good deeds? Some people can’t tell how involved they are in other people’s lives. For example, taking care of the old, helping the homeless, reaching out to those people suffering from tragic situation or natural disaster; these are things people consider to be there purpose in life. Frankl also talked about how he was able to help people in the camp who was thinking of committing suicide to get out of it. This can be said to be his purpose, to help these people who really needed help to define themselves.

In many religions, people try to serve others through the belief in God. They believe if you do good to someone, good things tend to happen to you. Which can easily be said to be the law of karma. Doing good in life is one of the ways people tend to find their purpose, in Frankl’s book, he talked about how some of the guards were nice to the slaves and as to how the slaves saw them. Good deeds can be another way of defining one’s self worth. You can internally hold yourself above others based on the different charitable acts that you have accomplished throughout your lifetime. This inflated self-worth can last through many tribulations and is not sought after in vain or falsely supported. In the modern world, charitable acts don’t always come from a place pure of heart, or even of a background to find one’s purpose. Instead, theses deeds could be only to inflate one’s image to the public eye, or to reference to when trying to impress peers or employers.

Another way that people dedicate their lives with through a specific work, accomplishment, or service. They will find one thing that they thrive under and will truly sanctify the rest of their thoughts, deeds, circle of peers, and topics of discussion underneath of it. This sort of mindset can include inventions or programs. So, for example, an inventor can base their entire worth of their life over the invention that they were successful in making. Even if aspects of this person’s personal, financial, romantic, social, or even educational backgrounds of life, they can look back to this one foundational accomplishment and nothing else matters. They can still see themselves as wildly successful and can always base their self-worth over this one instance.

Frankl gives us an anecdote over the purpose of tragedy as well. In this book, we are told the story of a man in deep mourning over the loss of his wife. He was so distressed that he asked Frankl why did this have to happen to him? Why did his wife have to die before him? Why was he left in misery mourning her loss in n hellish existence of a concentration camp? He fraught over these many questions and could do nothing but keep asking why. Frankl helped this man by simply asking him if he would rather his wife die after him and be left in the miserable position he was in. He stopped and answered no. The suffering man then realized the silver lining in his wife’s death. She was not left to endure life in the concentration camp without his companionship, love, and protection. Frankl then describes to this man that there was purpose in this awful occurrence even though it seemed nothing but purposeless and tortuous at first.

In the camp, a lot of people thought their life was over, they felt they did not have anything to live for anymore. Frankl was able to convince some of his fellow prisoners not to give up and challenge them to find their purpose. Through this a lot of them was able to hold on to the struggle and survive through it, where there were good deeds in the mind of some and others could think of having that freedom to go back home. But it was tough for they never thought they would see the day they will go home as they see a lot of people get flamed every day.

Frankl then informs us that he found his sole purpose in life throughout his experience in the concertation camp. He realized that the atmosphere he was in gave him the opportunity to help many hopeless people find the will to live during this awful time. Frankl was given the chance to save many suffering, innocent people from committing suicide because they didn’t understand what they did to deserve the predicament that they were in. He was a therapist to these individuals and found his purpose through this situation. Frankl realized that even though he was suffering as well, he now had a steadfast purpose with his knowledge, his skill, his social ability and understanding, and his overall life. Even though he was put in a hellish existence, he helped many people find hope. Frankl woke up every day with an aspiration to help others, to bring even a shred of hope and happiness to this beaten peoples’ lives. This shown that one can find their purpose even in the most desolate and horrid conditions. This all is based off their self-worth seen through works. Frankl knew he was making a difference in people’s lives each day, which in turn gave him a reason to get up each day. The pass off of hope kept many people strong even though a tortuous war experience.

Many people also base every single instance and work that stems from their lifestyle. They believe that whatever they do must back up their believe system and their in depth religious background. Glory and honor must always be given to their creator and god. When one believes this type of lifestyle is crucial, they also believe that every good or bad things is connected directly to how good they did in their last act or creation. If this type of believer does not feel as if they are doing a good job in this instance of their lifestyle they begin to feel purposeless and depressed.

When I am looking at my own life through the different ideals that Frankl discussed, I begin to see my long-term purpose more clearly. For me, coming to America was a huge step in my life and was a way to search for the mean of my own existence. I came to America as a teenage boy to play basketball and get a high school education. Where I am from, not many kids get the opportunity that I received. Because I was lucky enough to receive the lifestyle that I have, I was to be able to help other children back in my home country, Nigeria. I am planning to help kids like myself through a basketball program, by providing shoes and clothes that many of these children are in desperate need of, and also by helping in any way I can to strengthen the educational system of Nigeria. I feel as if my purpose is to use this opportunity that I was given to reach out to the kids of my home community through good deeds and creating a safe atmosphere for them to grow up in.

“Man’s Search for Meaning” shows us the different ways that man positions his lifestyle to be able to find his purpose to be alive. This included the purpose to create a work or do a deed, by experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. Frankl gives us his personal experiences within some of these categories and how we found his purpose within the suffering situations he found himself in. Finding the true purpose of your own life can happen at any time, we must be open to accept it and be ready to embrace it whenever it is made clear to us.

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