This Week’s Selected Media: May 5, 2024: Man’s Search for Meaning

May 5, 2024 by Joshua
in Tips

This week I finished:

Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl: one of my favorite books since I first read it, probably in the early 2000s. I hadn’t read it in maybe ten years, which means since starting working on sustainability leadership.

I find it more valuable than ever. It’s perfectly relevant to our situation today. The book led me to develop the approach to difficult times: “However difficult my current situation, it’s not as bad as Auschwitz and Frankl, in Auschwitz, wrote about bliss and love. He was no more or less human than I am. If he could find bliss and love there, I can find meaning and reward here.” While I lose sight of this view at times, for the most part, it’s enabled me to develop social and emotional skills that set a floor to how depressed I can feel. That is, I’ve never heard a description of depression that didn’t sound like what I’ve experienced at some point, but I’ve learned how to dig myself out, inspired by Frankl.

This reading resonated with the apathy, giving up, loneliness, isolation, and suicide of today. He also mentioned something I see: that the more something is done for you, the less meaning you create for yourself. With meaning, you can handle life. Without it, you just smoke your cigarettes for pleasure, which isn’t enough to sustain you when you’re on the edge.

I kept thinking of parts to quote for my book, but I thought of so many, I just have to recommend this book to everyone in its entirety.

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