The Meaning of Life
Frankl does not use the word "meaning" in the general broad sense such as in "What is the meaning of life?" but rather in a more specific way of "what is the meaning of your life". In Frankl's words, asking the meaning of life is akin to asking the chess champion: "Tell me, Master, what is the best move in the world?” (pg 131) There is no “correct” answer to this question, as the best move is dependent on your opponent, the moves already made, and the moves to be made…. Much the same as saying there is no correct answer to the question “What is the meaning of life?” as the meaning of life changes from person to person and from moment to moment. Frankl demonstrates how his meaning of life changed as noted that one morning as he marched to work he came to a sudden realization that “The salvation of man is through love and in love.” (pg 57) I think that Frankl’s realization is meant to illustrate how even in the darkest of times, meaning can be found in suffering and 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.” (pg 86) Frankl chose to focus on his love - his love for his wife, his love for life which brought meaning to the torture he was enduring.
Frankl does not preach what he believes the meaning of life is, but instead tries to help us to see the truth for ourselves through his illustrations of human suffering and triumph. The analogy of the Painter vs. the Ophthalmologist on page 132 reflects Frankl’s core discipline. “A painter tries to convey to us a picture of the world as he sees it; and ophthalmologist tries to enable us to see the world as it really is.” Frankl tries to help us to see with our own eyes; he cannot show us the truth but can only try and help... [continues]
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