Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home  > Truth is a Pathless Land > Unfolding Consciousness: From Matter to Life to Mind  > Viktor Emil Frankl


Victor E. Frankl is an internationally renowned psychiatrist who endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps, to write '*Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning', a book which was described by Gordon W.Allport, formerly a professor of psychology at Harvard University as 'an introduction to the most significant psychological movement of our day'. At the core of Dr.Frankl's theory is the belief that man's primary motivational force is his search for meaning.

Viktor Frankl Institut

Viktor Frankl - Life & Work

Prisoners of Our Thoughts - Alex Pattakos
Viktor E Frankl - Pamela Jessica Runyon "Heroes are quite rare. They quietly evolve, making their mark upon the world. When they are gone, humanity as a whole is never the same. Such is the case with Viktor E. Frankl, professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, author of 32 books, including Man's Search For Meaning. This book is considered to be a classic. A survey done by the Library of Congress declared it to be among the top 10 influential books in America to date..."
Review of  Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning  by a reader from Washington, DC , March 16, 1998... 
Discussion Guide to Search for Meaning - Brian Lanaham  "The true power of this book lies in its ability to illustrate concepts that each reader can apply to the unique context of their individual life. The purpose of this discussion guide is to support this process by helping you apply Frankl's experiences and ideas to the circumstances we find ourselves in at the end of the 1990's. ..meaning in life is not an abstraction, but rather "the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment". He asserts that we can only know the big meaning of our life in retrospect - at it's end, and that this will be dependent on all the little moments of actualized meaning along the way. .. "self-actualization is possible only as a side effect of self-transcendence.""
Tribute to Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl - the Prophet of Meaning - Genrich L. Kraskol

* indicates link to Amazon.com online bookshop]

*The Doctor and the Soul : From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy
*Man's Search for Meaning : An Introduction to Logotherapy
*Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning 
*The Unheard Cry for Meaning 
*Viktor Frankl Recollections : An Autobiography 
*Will to Meaning : Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy 
*Viktor Frankl, People and Meaning
*The Unheard Cry for Meaning : Psychotherapy and Humanism
*Existential Family Therapy : Using the Concepts of Viktor Frankl
*Search for Meaning As the Basic Human Motivation : A Critical Examination of Viktor Emil Frankl's Logotherapeutic Concept of Man 
*Analecta Frankliana : the proceedings of the First World Congress of Logotherapy, 1980
*Psycho-Therapy and Existentialism : Selected Papers on Logotherapy
*The Unconscious God : Psychotherapy and Theology


From Matter to Life to Mind...

Viktor Emil Frankl
March 26, 1905 - September 2, 1997

Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning

" ..For too long we have been dreaming a dream from which we are now waking up: the dream that if we just improve the socioeconomic situation of people, everything will be okay, people will become happy. The truth is that as the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged: survival for what? Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for." Viktor E. Frankl, "The Unheard Cry for Meaning"

"This story is not about the suffering and death of great heroes and martyrs, ....Thus it is not so much concerned with the sufferings of the mighty, but with sacrifices, the crucifixion and the deaths of the great army of unknown and unrecorded victims." Viktor E. Frankl

"...in one life there is love for one's children to tie to; in another life, a talent to be used; in a third, perhaps only lingering memories worth preserving... As a long-time prisoner in bestial concentration camps he [Viktor Frankl] found himself stripped to naked existence. His father, mother, brother, and his wife died in camps or were sent to gas ovens, so that, excepting for his sister, his entire family perished in these camps. How could he - every possession lost, every value destroyed, suffering from hunger, cold and brutality, hourly expecting extermination - how could he find life worth preserving?" Gordon W. Allport in Preface to Man's Search for Meaning

"..In only 9 days, he (Frankl) dictated the book, which would become Man�s Search for Meaning. Before he died, it sold over nine million copies, five million in the U.S. alone.." C. George Boeree on  Viktor Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl - Some Quotations....

On Success

"Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run - in the long run, I say! - success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it." from the Preface

On Discovering the Meaning of Life

"The meaning of our existence is not invented by ourselves, but rather detected." p.157

�A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how."�

"What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment." p.171

"We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by doing a deed; (2) by experiencing a value; and (3) by suffering." p.176

�Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.�

On Truth

"We must remain aware of the fact that as long as absolute truth is not accessible to us (and it never will be), relative truths have to function as mutual correctives. Approaching the one truth from various sides, sometimes even in opposite directions, we cannot attain it, but we may at least encircle it."

On Choosing One's Attitude

"...We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way..." p.104

"There is also purpose in life which is almost barren of both creation and enjoyment and which admits of but one possibility of high moral behavior: namely, in man's attitude to his existence, an existence restricted by external forces."  p.106

On Committing to Values and Goals

"Logotherapy...considers man as a being whose main concern consists in fulfilling a meaning and in actualizing values, rather than in the mere gratification and satisfaction of drives and instincts." p.164

"What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him." p.166

Humor is another of the soul's weapons in the fight for self-preservation. It is well known that humor more than anything else in the human makeup, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.

If architects want to strengthen a decrepit arch, they increase the load that is laid upon it, for thereby the parts are joined more firmly together. So, if therapists wish to foster their patients' mental health, they should not be afraid to increase that load through a reorientation toward the meaning of one's life.

On Fulfilling One's Task

"A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how." p.127

"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life - daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." p.122

On Love

"A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth-that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and is love."

note by tamilnation.org

அன்பும் சிவமும் இரண்டென்பர் அறிவிலார்
அன்பேசிவமாவது யாரும் அறிகிலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவது யாரும் அறிந்தபின்
அன்பேசிவமாய் அமர்ந்திருந்தாரே
Thirumular's Thirumanthiram

On the Future

"Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake."

On Heroism

"...heroism ultimately can only be demanded or expected of someone - of only one person. You are never entitled to place the demand of heroism on any one else, not unless you have been in the same position, facing the same decision, the same way facing death as punishment. But anyone who had immigrated to the United States and, viewing the situation in the past from that place, is not entitled to tell anybody who had remained in Germany that he should have joined the resistance, unless he himself has done so, facing all the risks, facing the question of whether his responsibility toward his whole family had allowed him, because he would have thrown his own family into the concentration camps." Viktor Frankl at Ninety: An Interview - Matthew Scully

From a review of  Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning  by a reader from Washington, DC , March 16, 1998 

" Applying Meaning to Life - When my little brother died of AIDS at the age of 29, one of the nurses at the hospice recommended this book. I had not heard of it and when she tried to explain it to me, it didn't sound like it was for me. Fortunately, I picked up a copy anyway. I read it and I'm glad I did. I never felt so alive as I did just after my little brother died. I never appreciated the gulf between the living and the dead until I was helping the hospice staff prepare my brother's body for the undertaker's arrival. And without reading Man's Search for Meaning, I could have missed one way to understand the purpose of that gulf; the reasons why some die and others live. Frankl's story of his Holocaust experience is reason enough for reading the book and if he stopped there, this book would still be worth reading. It is Frankl's creation of logotherapy, the task of applying meaning to life, that makes the author so important. You cannot read this book without changing some aspect of yourself, probably for the better. It is an adventure, much needed and perhaps too short, for anyone facing their own or someone else's death. In the time since my brother's death and my first reading of this book, I have been diagnosed with a complicated, chronic illness which has caused me to make considerable changes to the way I live my life. Viktor Frankl's book continues to help in the transition I'm undertaking. My search for meaning continues, even as the expression of that meaning must necessarily change."



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