Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) was a psychiatrist who authored the well-known book Man’s Search for Meaning. Born in Austria, Frankl studied medicine at the University of Vienna under Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler. Frankl’s work studying suicide among Austrian youth brought him to the attention of Wilhelm Reich, who invited Frankl to work in Berlin. Returning to Austria in 1933, Frankl and his family were later sent to the Theresienstadt Ghetto by the Nazi, and later transferred to Auschwitz. Frankl’s entire family, including his wife, was murdered by the Nazis.
Viktor Frankl and Man’s Search for Meaning
Following his liberation from the Nazi Camps, Frankl began writing what would become Man’s Search for Meaning, first translated into English in 1959. The main thesis of the work is that life has the potential for meaning, even under the most brutal and absurd conditions imaginable. Frankl’s experiences under the Nazis profoundly shaped his work, and he came to the eventual conclusion that even in the darkest of camps, there were essentially only two types of people: moral or corrupt.
Frankl is also noted as the father of logotherapy, often called the “Third Viennese School of Psychiatry.” Developed out of Man’s Search… logotherapy dictates that the main human motivation is finding the will to live under any circumstances. Further, humans have the freedom to search for meaning regardless of the inhumanity of the situation.
Highlights of Viktor Frankl's career include:
- Authorship of Man's Search for Meaning
- Father of Logotherapy
- Suicide Research Regarding Austrian Youth
- Lent Deep Insight Into Nazi Psyche