What is the meaning of life?
What are the things one must do with life? The solution is given by the author in the novel Man’s Search for Meaning. Many of the people wander and search answers for such questions but while wandering these people either lie in bed or think about all these while resting in a cool weather. If it is being imagined that one this day is the last day to live then one would have reacted differently and understand the meaning of life instead of relaxing and only wandering about it.
The author Victor searched for the meaning of life when he was put into concentration camp in the time of Second World War. Hitler banished him from his family, kept in worse condition and ill-treated him. In this period of time, he learnt a lot about himself and his co-prisoners. By noticing everyone’s experience he tried to search for the meaning of life. Then he could write the book named Man’s Search for Meaning.
How can thinking this improve one’s life?
“Giveup-itis”: Victor exclaims when one is going to die in the concentration camp it could be guessed easily beforehand just by noticing the attitude. Until they discuss about being happy with family after getting out of the camp, they are in a good mood that gives them a reason to live. But when all these conversation did not take place, refugees get depressed and feel detached from life. They give up.
One must find meaning in life
So it is quite important to know the WHY in one’s life. If one knows why he/she is alive, what is his/her motive, what is it that he/she wants to do then life gives a way to resolve the HOW from it. Meaning, if one knows the purpose of living he/she can know how to live the life.
One must give meaning to life
When one thinks about the meaning of life, the fact is life does not have a single meaning. In reality, one needs to give meaning to life. One has to decide the life’s meaning by oneself. Author was in the worst situation jailed still he could search for Freedom in there.
How? He says no matter in which situation one is in, one can control one thing i.e. one’s ATTITUDE. There are many people in this society who live a luxurious life still have a negative attitude towards everything. Therefore they are not ecstatic in life. On the other side there are people like Victor who maintained a positive attitude in his struggling period of time.
Now the question is if there is no meaning in life beforehand then how one can give meaning to life.
According to the author in the book Man’s Search for Meaning, this can be achieved by three ways.
Three ways to give meaning to life
Work in man’s search for meaning
Work: When he was in the camp, he used to write a book and in the meanwhile the book was forcibly taken away from him. This made him upset like never before. He wanted to complete the entire book for the betterment of other people living in different generations.
He considered the manuscript to be an unique contribution to the society so he was not in a mood to drop the idea of writing. In spite of the hardships he inculcated the idea of completing the book anyhow. He collected small pieces of paper and finished the manuscript. Victor had a never giving up attitude so he could succeed in the work.
Therefore in the concentration camp, through his work he was able to give meaning to the life.
Love in man’s search for meaning
Love: When Frankl talks about love in the book Man’s Search for Meaning, he does not talk about love in romantic movies rather he explains about the love between individuals when one of them is not his/her condition. For this he cites an example of a woman who lived with her severely disabled son. The mother once attempted to suicide but her son saved her life. The lady could not see meaning in her life.
Frankl asked the lady to imagine her being an old lady enjoying a happy and peaceful life and she was also not supposed to take care of her disable son and tell him the feeling she would have at that point of time.
To this she answers that she would feel like a failure because she enjoyed her whole life and did not do any good deeds. Again Victor asked her to imagine herself to be old and whole life she took care of her son then got old and gave the son a beautiful life to live in.
Realization in the book Man’s Search for Meaning
After this she realized the fact of giving someone a life worthy then she would definitely be proud of herself in the old age. Her life would be meaningful. This woman got the meaning of life because of her son’s love.
The author in the book Man’s Search for Meaning conveys the meaning of love in this way and tells his readers to find the meaning of life through Love.
Love means seeing their potential and helping them to reach it
Suffering in man’s search for meaning
Suffering: Suffering is guaranteed in everyone’s life. One needs to suffer in any point of time. Author being in the camp felt the suffering. He imagined himself lecturing to the students in a classroom and telling the story about his life in the suffering period. Imagination took him to the level where he found meaning and could get out of the struggle.
Struggle gives one a meaning to life after one gets out of it. It makes them feel how the life would be after the struggle is over. This way he tries to explain that struggle is must in life but that struggle gives meaning to life if one imagines how the life would be getting out of the struggle.
Whenever a meaning is given to the suffering, the suffering gets over at once