Skip to main content

A lot of people think that the most important thing in life is finding happiness but according to Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl finding meaning is much more important. What do you think about this?

Frankl recorded his ideas back in 1946 in the book Man’s Search for Meaning and in this, he detailed his experience in a Nazi Concentration Camp during World War II. He was arrested back in 1942 along with his pregnant wife and parents. They were then transported to a camp that they ended up spending the next three years in. Of course, they were not all put together and once he was liberated he learned that all of his loved ones had not made it through.

Viktor Frankl, österr. Psychologe und Arzt. Photographie. Um 1949.

He claims that the way he was able to make it through the concentration camp was finding meaning. He says that when someone is aware of the ‘why’ for existence they can put up with any ‘how.’ While he was at the camp he worked as a therapist and in his book he mentioned two men who had come to him when considering suicide. They believed that they no longer had anything to live for and wanted to end their suffering. Frankl encouraged them to find a reason to live.

He said that one of the two men decided to focus on a series of books that needed to be finished while the other his child in a foreign country. This is what Frankl claims saved them in the end. You see, this became a source of mental strength for the two men and helped put a value to their suffering. It gave them a reason to survive through whatever they were forced to face.

Frankl was not one to believe in the pursuit of happiness. he believed that by going after happiness you would inevitably be making yourself unhappy in the long run. This book has sold millions of copies ever since it was published and will remain an important piece of work for years to come. How do you feel about what Frankl thinks on meaningfulness? Do you think meaning is more important than happiness?