Dr. Viktor Frankl and incredible human being

Dr. Viktor Frankl an incredible human being

The psychiatrist, whom I respect by far more than any others, is Dr. Viktor Frankl. Readers may remember him as a Holocaust survivor, and father of a type of psychotherapy called logotherapy, and author of books such as Man’s Search for Meaning. Over against other psychiatrists and psychologists who said that the will to power and the pursuit of pleasure are what ultimately motivate human beings; Dr. Frankl believed that the will to meaning is what ultimately motivates human beings. His logotherapy was born out of his own existential experiences in the World War II concentration camps. He said that according to logotherapy, meaning can be discovered by three ways: “(1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.” Even though Dr. Frankl didn’t publicly declare himself to be an adherent of any religion (he was an Austrian Jew, though I’m not aware that he attended synagogue, his wife apparently was a Catholic) nonetheless, he said that religion is concerned with ultimate meaning, or supermeaning and self-transcendence. For me, this has parallels with the Lutheran theology of the cross; which, of course, originates with Jesus himself, when he taught and lived for others and made the ultimate self sacrifice for humankind.


Readers may be interested in the following links to explore further the life and teachings of Dr. Viktor Frankl: You Tube has several interviews here. Readers can also check out the Viktor Frankl Institute here, where there are also some interviews. What shines through for me is the deep insights into the human condition and the profound authenticity of Dr. Frankl. He obviously practiced what he preached, even though his suffering during the Holocaust must have been horrific, he still lived to the ripe old age of 92 years.