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In The Feeling of Meaninglessness Viktor Frankl the founder of logotherapy a psychotherapeutic method which focus on a will to meaning as the driving force of human life takes a look at how the modern condition affects the human search for meaning In this series of articles and essays he discusses how many people suffer from pervasive feelings of meaninglessness in their lives despite the great material comforts of industrial society He attributes this sense of meaninglessness to a neglect of our existential needs and offers practical insights and guidelines for how to overcome this meaninglessness and regain mental health through engagement with our existential needs and selves

10 thoughts on “The Feeling of Meaninglessness

  1. says:

    An excellent description of Logotherapy by its main proponent and the man of courage for many of us mortals My notes followOften people complain about a sense of futility and emptiness a feeling of meaninglessness which can be described as the existential vacuumUnlike the animal man is no longer told by his instincts as to what he must do And in contrast to former times he is no longer told by traditions and values what he should do Now knowing neither what he must do nor what he should do He sometimes does not even know what it is that he basically wishes to do Instead he gets to wish to do what other people do conformity or he does what other people wish him to do totalitarianismBeing human means relating and being directed to something or someone other than oneself Individuals aspire toward the fulfilment of values the achievement of a meaningful life Man is led and guided in his search for meaning by his conscience Meaning must be found; it cannot be given And it must be found by oneself To give meaning would amount to moralisingThe existence is authentic only to the extent to which it points to something that is not itself Being human cannot be its own meaning Human being fades away unless it commits itself to some freely chosen meaningLogos is a Greek word which means “meaning” Logotherapy focuses on the meaning of human existence as well as on man’s search for such a meaning This striving to find a meaning in one’s life is according to logotherapy regarded as the primary motivational force in manInsofar as logotherapy is concerned its concept of man is based on 3 pillars1 Freedom of will2 Will to meaning and3 Meaning of lifeWhat is actually man’s concern is not to fulfil himself or to actualise himself but to fulfil meaning and to realise valueLife can be made meaningful in a threefold way1 Through what we give to life in terms of our creative works2 By what we take from the world in terms of our experiencing values be it in nature or in culture3 Through the stand we take toward a fate we no longer can change an incurable disease or the likeMan is not spared facing his human condition which includes the tragic triad of human existence namely pain death and guiltViktor Frankl mentions his dilemma in a concentration camp when faced with a man and a woman who were close to suicide; both had told him the same thing – that they expected nothing from life His therapy was to achieve a kind of Copernican switch by asking both fellow prisoners whether the uestion was really what we expect from life or rather was it not what life was expecting from us He suggested that life was awaiting something from them In fact the woman was being awaited by her child abroad and the man by a series of books which he had begun to write but had not yet finished

  2. says:

    Some books come to you at the right place at the right time This was The feeling of meaninglessness to me Frankl puts words to abstract thoughts that many of us already have on our minds and it makes perfect sense Every sentence is like a revelation that helps us to analyze the people who surround us and most importantly ourselves

  3. says:

    This book is an excellent resource for anyone who wishes as I did that Man's Search for Meaning was longer and dived deeper into Frankl's philosophyAn immersive read into Frankl's thought this collection of his essays allowed me to to understand and appreciate Frankl's theory of Logotherapy This collection allows one to understand not only the therapeutic aspects of Logotherapy but its psychological and metaphysical axioms as well Having been introduced to Frankl in the traditional way with Man's Search for Meaning this deeper dive was captivating To me Frankl's thoughts on materialist reductionism existential boredom and a mass crisis of meaning seem even relevant today in the 21st century then they likely were in his day It is a shame that his work seems to be largely dismissed today It seems that his pertinent metaphysical and psychological positions have been largely ignored because of or even devalued by association with his therapeutic theory Because it is composed of separate essays of Frankl's this work can seem a little repetitive at times It also could have benefited from additional commentary on how Frankl's legacy is relevant today Frankl's positions themselves can at times seem to confuse ought with is He sometimes for example will say that approaches to therapy with underlying reductionist metaphysical assumptions are dehumanizing but then dismiss those approaches to therapy without addressing if they are valid forms of therapy or if those albeit dehumanizing metaphysical assumptions are incorrect All things considered 4 stars and a great read for anyone interested in psychology philosophy or with a general interest in the thought of Viktor Frankl