Man’s Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning Logotherapy: The Meaning of Life Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The meaning of life is different for every individual, and thus no universal answer can be provided. Frankl believes that it is useless to look for a broad, general meaning of life—instead, people should focus on the meaning that can be found in each specific situation. Frankl argues that “every man has his own specific vocation” which cannot be fulfilled by anyone else. It is his responsibility to fill this unique role. This means, Frankl says, that instead of asking, “what is the meaning of life,” man must recognize that life asks him what his meaning will be. Man is responsible to life to discover this meaning. In logotherapy, “responsibleness” is the “essence of human existence.”
Here Frankl restates what he experienced in the camps. When Frankl realized that he was responsible to his manuscript and his wife, he felt like a human being and an individual again. These responsibilities were unique to him; no one else could write his book or love his wife. Frankl says that once a person becomes aware of his responsibilities, he can find meaning in his life. Man’s greatest responsibility is to life itself, and he must strive to live up to the opportunities life presents him with.
Themes
The Search for Meaning Theme Icon
Freedom, Optimism, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Psychology and Logotherapy Theme Icon