The Meaning of Life is Life!
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. — Victor Frankl
The quote above comes from Victor (Viktor) Frankl. He was a neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher and writer. He was also a Holocaust survivor.
Born in Vienna in 1905, his interest in psychology and the role of meaning developed when he began taking night classes on applied psychology while in junior high school.
As a teenager, he began corresponding with Sigmund Freud. He began to question some of Freud’s ideas, eventually aligning himself with ideas expressed by Alfred Adler.
After earning his M.D. in 1930, Frankl gained extensive experience at Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital, where he was responsible for treating suicidal women.
In 1937, he began a private practice, but the Nazi’s annexation of Austria in 1938 limited his opportunity to treat patients.
In 1940, he joined Rothschild Hospital, the only hospital in Vienna still admitting Jews, as head of the neurology department.
Before his deportation to the concentration camps, he helped numerous patients avoid the Nazi euthanasia program that targeted the mentally disabled.
In 1942, a few months after his marriage, Frankl and his family were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
His father died there of starvation and pneumonia.
In 1944, Frankl and the surviving members of his family were transported to Auschwitz, where his mother and brother were murdered in the gas chambers.
His wife died later of typhus in Bergen-Belsen.
Frankl spent three years in four concentration camps,
It was his experience in these camps which caused him to reflect upon life, its meaning and human experience.
Several years later, he wrote about his Concentration Camp experiences and outlined his own approach to people helping in “Mans Search for Meaning.”
“Everything can be taken from a…