Frankl posits that the will to meaning, or the desire to find and create meaning in one’s life, is the primary motivating force in a person’s life because it is the one thing for which a person is willing to live and die. Frankl cites a number of surveys in which the vast majority of people said that finding their purpose was the most important thing they hoped to accomplish in life. Frankl concedes that some retrospective work may need to be done to get a patient to the point where the meanings in his life become clear, but once that point has been reached, a patient must be reoriented toward focusing on the future.
Here Frankl explains a belief to which the first half of his book testifies: that man must find a purpose for his life in order to survive. Earlier, Frankl framed this search for meaning in personal terms, and now he follows this explanation up in psychological terms. Frankl’s argument is particularly convincing because he has witnessed what is necessary to survive in the most horrible situation imaginable.