Man's Search for Meaning - Book Notes

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Man's Search for Meaning - Book Notes by Mind Map: Man's Search for Meaning - Book Notes

1. Part I - Experiences in a Concentration Camp

1.1. People

1.1.1. Cappos imprisoned people who are treating others terrible and doing the guards dirty work Picked by SS

1.1.2. Prisoners

1.2. Three phases of reactions to Camp life

1.2.1. Following admission Shock Abnormal reactions are actually quite normal given the circumstances Abnormality is usually judged compared to normal behavior removed from circumstance Within days, moved into second phase

1.2.2. Well entrenched in Camp routine man can get used to anything Even a child with frostbitten toes being worked on by a doctor did not bring emotions of pity and disgust The corpse staring at you of a man you just spoke to you hours earlier there's no emotional feeling while you sip your soup looking through the window at it Apathy lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern A necessary mechanism of self-defense Also caused by hunger and lack of sleep, just like in normal life Pain Mostly comes from the meaning behind the beatings The injustice of the actions The idea that the prisoners were no more than beasts it's not even of the same species as the rest Judgments of one's life from those but you think extremely little of Very little sexual perversion Unlike other, all male scenarios, like army barracks Most likely do to under nourishment Pure focus on survival, nothing else Cultural hibernation Two exceptions Love Love goes very far beyond the physical person Negative happiness The relief of a worse suffering (came from switching camps with a few less worries) Mental reactions are still in your control You choose how you react to what's happening, how you react in your mind Unknown time period of release or not Leads to a day feeling like forever but a week feeling like no time Meaning of life When people give up because they had no hope for anything in the future their body shut down and for many led to death We need not to ask what's the meaning of our life, we need to ask what life expects of us We need to behave as if life is questioning us Uniqueness and singleness distinguish every individual, and gives a meaning to his existence

1.2.3. Period following release and liberation Day 1 "freedom" had lost its meaning They weren't "pleased", they didn't know how to be, they had to relearn how to be happy Depersonalization Psychological version of the bends Can suffer damage of moral and spiritual health Slowly would it take to guide these men to the truth that no one has the right to do wrong not even if wrong has been done to them Others respond with, we didn't know, and we have suffered as well Many of the reasons people had to push through like loved ones, we're no longer there This was huge discouragement and hard for many to overcome Eventually it's hard to remember how you got through everything you did, and your Camp experience feels like a nightmare Ultimate realization is that there is nothing more to fear

2. Logotherapy

2.1. Existential analysis

2.1.1. focused on "will to meaning"

2.1.2. as opposed to Nietszchean's "will to power" Freud's "will to pleasure"

2.1.3. the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one's life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.

2.2. Basic Principles

2.2.1. Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.

2.2.2. Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.

2.2.3. We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering

3. Part 2 Logotherapy in a Nut Shell

3.1. Focuses on the future

3.1.1. The meanings to be fulfilled by oneself in the future

3.2. Confronted with and reoriented to the meaning of your life

3.3. The will to meaning

3.3.1. Primary motivation in life not to gain pleasure or avoid pain

3.3.2. Unique and specific in that it must and can only be fulfilled by the individual alone Only then will it have the significance to satisfy one's own will to meaning

3.4. Existential frustration

3.4.1. Existential definitions Existence itself The human mode of being The meaning of existence The striving to find a concrete meaning in personal existence The will to meaning

3.4.2. Noagenic Neurosis Noalogical, Greek Nose, meaning mind

3.5. Having a why allows us to bare the how

3.5.1. Healthy constant tension Between what one has accomplished and what one still wants to accomplish Between what one is and what one should become An inherent tension in human beings Therefore is indispensable to mental well-being

3.5.2. Node dynamics Get definition One pole of the meaning to be filled Other is the man needing to fulfill it

3.6. Existential vacuum

3.6.1. Most often found in boredom

3.6.2. Masks and guises this can appear in Will To Power Will to money Will to pleasure Sexual compensation

3.7. Meaning of life

3.7.1. Equivalent to asking to Chessmaster the best move in the world Depends on the situation & your knowledge & in the opponent There's not an abstract meaning to life

3.7.2. Each man can only respond to what life is asking of him

3.7.3. He can only respond by being responsible

3.7.4. True meaning of life is to be discovered in the world, rather than within man or his own psyche The self-transcendence of human existence Being Human always points itself to something or someone other than itself The more one gives them self to another person or cause the more he actualizes himself

3.7.5. Is always changing, but never ceases to be

3.8. The essence of existence

3.8.1. Live as if you were living already for the second time And as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you're about to act now This Maxim implies that the present is past and that you can change the past

3.8.2. To be fully aware of your own responsibleness

3.9. 3 avenues to arrive to meaning

3.9.1. Creating a work or doing a deed the meaning in this is pretty well understood by most people / is innate

3.9.2. Experiencing something or encountering someone Meaning of love To grasp another human being in their innermost core in their personality To become fully aware the very essence of another human being Enabled to see the essential traits and features of the other person Sees the potential in the other that has not yet actualized but yet I ought to be actualized This love enables the other to actualize these potentialities

3.9.3. The attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering (most important) The meaning of suffering Example Something ceases to be suffering at the moment we find a meaning in it Suffering is not Necessary to find meaning meaning is simply possible, even in spite of suffering provided that the suffering is un-avoidable Life's meaning is an unconditional one for it even includes the potential meaning of unavoidable suffering

3.10. meta-clinical problems

3.10.1. a logo-drama (example) (dead child), crippled boy and mom who tried to commit suicide together the boy stopped her as he still found meaning in his life, while she did not posed a question if you were 80, with no kids, rich and successful and accomplished, what do you say to yourself?

3.11. the super meaning

3.11.1. god / religion example of surviving one's children you're here surviving past your children so you can earn your way to heaven so you can join them there, something you could have not done at the moment without that suffering

3.12. logotherapy as a technique

3.12.1. anticipatory anxiety this anxiety actually causes the the fear to more likely take place than not having the fear eg. fear of blushing in large crowds

3.12.2. hyper intention makes impossible what one wishes example hyper focus on orgasm during sex, makes it even harder to orgasm

3.12.3. "paradoxical intention" deliberate practice of a neurotic habit or thought, undertaken to identify and remove it example sweating book writer with writers cramp stuttering case OCD cases as well sleep disturbance, fear of sleeplesness requires the ability to detach one from oneself this is usually required in humor anyways the empirical validation and clinical application of Gordon W Olport? book - the Individual and his Religion not a panacea useful tool for OCD and phobic conditions with underlying anticipatory anxiety short term therapeutic device

3.12.4. Dereflection Dereflection is used when a person is overly self-absorbed on an issue or attainment of a goal. By redirecting the attention, or dereflecting the attention away from the self, the person can become whole by thinking about others rather than themselves.

3.12.5. Socratic dialogue Socratic dialogue is a technique in which the logotherapist uses the own person's words as a method of self-discovery. By listening intently to what the person says, the therapist can point out specific patterns of words, or word solutions to the client, and let the client see new meaning in them. This process allows a person to realize that the answer lies within and is just waiting to be discovered.

3.13. the collective neurosis

3.13.1. every age has a collective neurosis

3.13.2. but responsibility does not belong to others, it's still our own responsibiltiy

3.14. pan determinism

3.14.1. the view of man which disregards his capacity to take a stand, toward any conditions what so ever man is not fully conditioned or determined but rather determines himself, weather he gives into conditions or stands up to them man is ultimately, self determining man does not simply exist, but always decides what his existence will be

3.14.2. freedom is a potential for arbitrariness unless we balance it with responsibleness recommends: a statue of responsibleness (on west coast) to balance statue of liberty

4. Post Script 1984 - The Case for a Tragic Optimism

4.1. Tragic Optimism

4.1.1. One is and remains optimistic in spite of the tragic triad

4.1.2. tragic triad pain guilt death

4.1.3. how can life maintain it's potential meaning, in spite of it's tragic aspects? how to make the best of any given situation

4.1.4. optimism optimism in the face of tragedy is not something to be commanded or ordered just as much as faith or love can not be ordered just like laughter can not be ordered it must be ensued 1 turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment 2 deriving from guilt, the opportunity to change oneself for the better 3 deriving from lifes transitiveness an incentive to take responsible action

4.1.5. final / overall life meaning can only be discovered at the last instance of existence requires to have made all the responsible decisions to have survived to be at this instant in the first place

4.1.6. conscious as a proctor for our decisions applies a measuring stick to a situation one is confronted with evaluated in the light of a set of criteria, in a hierarchy of values can not be espoused at a conscious level, they are something that "we are" we have crystallized through the course of evolution of our species

4.1.7. "argumento ad hominem" ? lost the reason for this reference

5. My Summary

5.1. Premise

5.1.1. Viktor E Frankl psychologist and concentration camp survivor

5.1.2. discovered the importance of "meaning" in the ability to survive as well as the existential needs people have in everyday life this lead to the invention of logotherapy

5.1.3. 2 parts of the book His stories of camp life and how people's mental states change Definition and breakdown of logotherapy Existential Analysis

5.2. Big Takeaways

5.2.1. Essence of Existence

5.2.2. 3 Avenues to arrive to meaning

5.2.3. We can get use to anything

5.2.4. Logotherapy as a technique

5.2.5. Meaning of Life / There's Meaning in Anything

5.3. Potential Discussion Points

5.3.1. What is something you "abnormally" reacted to in your life, which may in fact be normal that it was abnormal

5.3.2. What is something you have experienced the problem of Hyper Intention? (the problem of being so focused on an outcome that that hyper focus prevents or makes harder that outcome)

5.3.3. What in your life are you able to look at with more meaning than before reading the book? Will to meaning Action/Creation Love Meaning in Suffering Answer Creation Love

5.3.4. What past decisions/actions have you made that you wish to have made for the second time, with more responsibility? What would you have chosen to do specifically? Answer I wish I would have gotten divorced earlier in life, prior to having a second child Laziness

5.3.5. What are the reasons you don't commit suicide? Answer *Not* because it may hurt others. Other's feelings and reactions to life are not my responsibility. I acutely felt this growing up and have acknowledged it in early 30s. Growing up it was never a major thought. I have always been determined and confident with lofty goals to achieve. I was generally happy and tended to always find a way to be happy. Right prior to divorce and years after I have found myself in a new state of extreme sadness, experiencing anxiety (mild forms of depression), fleeting love, and physical disabilities I've never experienced before and have contemplated suicide more realistically for the first time. Why haven't I then... ? Hope and Motivation

5.3.6. "Eventually it's hard to remember how you got through everything you did, and your Camp experience feels like a nightmare" What past life events/experiences can you hardly recall living through, and it's more like a fleeting dream than an experience?

5.3.7. Frankl says to focus on the future of meaning of life, not the past... What future meaning gives you warm fuzzies thinking about?

5.3.8. What's a fear that you had not contemplated "Paradoxical Intention" for?