My dad got me “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankel for my birthday. It’s a short read if you’ve not read it. I was very pleased to get it – lots of talk about philosophy, and I haven’t swum through as much as one might have thought.
But every time I READ philosophy, I feel like I’ve had a large dinner of lettuce. Lots of chewing, but I’m still not full.
What gives? Why is it initially so interesting to me and then … nothing?
I think it’s that I already HAVE meaning in my life.
Frankel’s book is a series of snapshots of his emotional life while in the concentration camps during WWII. He talks about how he got through the horrors, and how he saw other prisoners do the same.
He observed deeply religious prisoners and how they maintained their meaning (although often not their lives) but that wasn’t the focus point of his book – his focus point was his own inner life, how he maintained enough self-care to continue to get up and try to live for just one more day.
It’s an interesting book, if unpleasant as are all books about the camps. I learned about the protective shell of apathy as one goes through horrors.
But still… there is this nothingness. There’s no higher calling, no eternal lesson. Just plodding forward, and a greater clarity of understanding one’s self, and other human beings.
I don’t know. I’ll read it again and see if I get more out of it… but for now? Man’s Search for Meaning didn’t find God, and thus – it didn’t find meaning after all.