Write Again…Man’s search for meaning

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Viktor E. Frankel. Ever heard of him? Of course not. Neither had I.

So. Who was this man we had never heard of? Well, he wrote a book, “Man’s Search For Meaning,” a good while ago.

A psychiatrist by profession, his intellect so dwarfed mine, that even standing in the shadow of his life experiences intimidates me.

You see, a Jew, Frankel miraculously survived the Holocaust; Shoah.

And yes, he was in Auschwitz, and several other camps, the horrors of which attempting to recount, describe, by those who have not such experiences, is impossible. Impossible.

His wife died, her earthly remains scattered by the wind that blew across the chimneys. He says his love for her never died. Never.

Frankel’s life spanned almost the entire 20th Century. He was born in 1905, and died in 1997.

The life lessons – that is, how to live and appreciate such a gift – that can be gained from reading his book are significant.

And yet, I am at least a bit reticent to recommend that one should read his book. You see, it’s depressing. Inspiring, informative, yes. But depressing.

We can all be thankful that no such depravity on such a scale that existed in those times of evil exists today. Let us not, however, assume at the least a semblance, more than a semblance, really, doesn’t exist today. In how some see others.

One reviewer of his book wrote “Man’s Search For Meaning” has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival… it continues to inspire us all to find significance in the very act of living.”

Much of what I read and write about in the sunset years of my journey is, in some way, a meditation on the lessons of my own life. One might think most of us do this, at least a little.

Such introspection has its place, but to do this with compulsion serves no positive emotional health. We’re all different in some ways, however.

I hope to see you back here again next weekend.

Shalom.