Viktor Frankl, a seeker of meaning

Viktor Frankl, a seeker of meaning

Even during his school years he became interested in the question of the meaning of human life; qualifying as a psychiatrist, he began to develop methods that help people to cope with the loss of meaning in life, which leads to neuroses, psychoses, suicide, alcoholism and drug addiction. During the Second World War, he shared the fate of millions of European Jews, after spending three and a half years in Nazi concentration camps. He not only survived, but within six years after the liberation produced about 10 books, which developed the doctrine of the quest for meaning as the main driving force of human life. The experience of the concentration camps showed that the greatest chances of survival were not those who differ in good health, but who had something to live for.

Since the 1960s, the teaching Frankl, which he called "speech therapy" received worldwide fame. His books have been translated into dozens of languages ​​and published millions of copies, and public lectures are sometimes collected thousands of listeners (one day I myself was a witness to this). I had the good fortune to be familiar with this remarkable man, to correspond with him to translate his books and oral presentations, when he visited Moscow in 1986 and 1992. Unquenchable inner light, crystal clarity and minted his thoughts and their verbal expression combined in him with an amazing care to the people around him.

His date

  • March 26, 1905: born in Vienna.
  • 1918-1924: a gymnasium enjoys natural science, psychology and psychoanalysis. Enter into correspondence with Freud, gave public lectures about the meaning of life.
  • 1925-1927: departs from psychoanalysis and individual psychology Adler enjoys.
  • 1926-1937: actively engaged in social activities, founds a popular magazine and consulting network in Austria and Germany for psychological help in the self-determination of senior pupils - the number of suicides in this age group is considerably reduced.
  • 1930-1942: a diploma-psychotherapist, works in the specialty clinics in Vienna.
  • September 1942 - April 1945: Finally in the concentration camps of Theresienstadt, Auschwitz (Oswiecim), kaufering III and Turckheim. In the concentration camps, killed his parents, wife and brother.
  • 1945-1970: head physician of the neurological department of the Vienna multidisciplinary clinic.
  • 1949: received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
  • 1961-1990: active lectures around the world. Receives honorary doctorates from 28 universities.
  • 1986 and 1992: The lectures in Moscow, Moscow State University.
  • 1996: The last lecture in the University of Vienna.
  • September 2, 1997: died in Vienna.

Five Keys to understanding the

The man is multidimensional

"Man - this is more than the mind; man - this is the spirit. " In addition to our biological nature, embodied in our body, and mental organization, embodied in our psyche, a person has another dimension of existence - spiritual or meaningful. This man is different from other creatures. It is at this level, opening the world of senses, we are, it turns out, are able to overcome the limitations and rigid cause-effect relationships, which are found at the lower levels.

The man tends to the meaning of

"The human being is always oriented outwards, at something or someone - in the sense that you want to implement, or to another person, to whom we are drawn to love." We do not construct meaning in their head, we find them in the world. Finding meaning - a "perception of opportunities against the background of reality."

Man is free to

"Necessity and freedom are located not on the same level; freedom rises, layered over any necessity. " Freedom is not absolute, it does not negate determinism, but adds a new dimension, allowing different attitudes to what can not be avoided. In particular, Frankl says that man is free in relation to its instincts, heredity, and the impact of social and consumer protection.

The man responsible

"We can not recognize the man free, not recognizing it at the same time responsible." First of all we are responsible for finding and implementing its unique meaning and value. Conscience - our "sense organ", was in front of her, and we are responsible for our actions. But a religious person goes a step further; for his conscience - a direct way to communicate with God, to whom in the end and it will be held accountable for past life.

The meaning can always be found

"The sense in principle available to anyone, regardless of gender, age, intelligence, education, nature, environment and religious beliefs." While the meaning of each person and each situation is unique, there are generalized values ​​- a kind of common sense options. Frankl identifies three types of them: the value of creativity (creation, introduction of something in the world); the value of experience (getting out of the world of something, such as love and aesthetic experience); value ratio (change in the attitude to the fact that we can not change). These three search paths allow to find meaning even in the most hopeless situation, for example in a concentration camp - life experience and clinical practice Frankl gave a lot of evidence for this.

Books and articles Viktor Frankl

  • "Man's Search for Meaning", meaning, 2006.
  • "Psychotherapy in practice," Juventa, 1999.
  • "To tell you the life of" YES ", meaning, 2004.
  • "Ten Theses on the individual," Existential Tradition 2005, number 7.