Blog entry by Alan Chapman
Viktor Frankl, Meaning, Humanity
This is about love, personal meaning, fearlessness, and forgiveness, which enable cooperation and transformation.
The language might seem complex, but let it come to you. The concepts are actually very simple.
The videos of Frankl's grandson Alex Vesely, are very easy to engage with and understand in your own ways: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiGvxV9g1t9bm4VMP0AlAFw.
This is an example. The sound quality is part of its beauty. The wisdom is deep.
Viktor Frankl is among the greatest thinkers and change-makers of the 20th century. His work is very significant for current times*.
Viktor Frankl (1905-97) was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor of four Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz.
He is a strong example of growth via trauma, and an advocate for love and compassion.
Viktor Frankl wrote c.40 books, most famously Man's Search for Meaning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man%27s_Search_for_Meaning
Frankl founded logotherapy - literally 'healing via meaning - which is an approach or concept for personal recovery and growth/development, based on personal meaning, i.e., what life means to you, and which focuses on yourself as an individual human being with a right to your own independent thoughts and feelings.
Logotherapy, and existential/humanistic growth
Logotherapy extends the works particularly of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, although Frankl's influences were many and deep besides Freud and Adler, as are wider interpretations of existential and humanistic growth concepts.
Logotherapy is a 'meaning-centered/centred' concept of psychotherapy, and also a way to approach life, also known as the 'Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy', whose ideas are taught internationally, embracing/connecting with works of Soren Kierkegaard, Melanie Klein, Alfried Laengle, Rollo May, Otto Rank, Friedrich Nietzsche, and many more, including Freud and Adler.
Logotherapy is among many existential and humanistic psychology theories. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_therapy
For example the approaches taught by the The Viennese School of Existential Analysis, and the work of Dr Alfried Laengle/Langle, an important 'apprentice' and extender of Frankl's work.
Great thinkers tend to mentor great students or 'apprentices', who often continue and build on the work of their teachers; 'standing on the shoulders of giants'.
New Frankl collection of works, and recent films
A new collection of Viktor Frankl's works were published in 2020 called Yes to Life, In Spite of Everything: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/24/what-the-lessons-from-auschwitz-teach-us-about-the-choices-we-make
In recent years Frankl's grandson Alex Vesely, a film-maker, has published more of Viktor Frankl's work, notably wonderful interviews, which I urge you to explore: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiGvxV9g1t9bm4VMP0AlAFw
clarifications about language and what this means to you
Note that language can be confusing, especially in titles and terminology.
Frankl was from a different time, so for example the title of his most famous book 'Man's Search for Meaning' uses 'Man' to represent 'humankind'.
One of the video titles for an interview with Frankl discussing his work refers to (Maslow's) Self-Actualization in a negative way, but Frankl was not being negative.
Therefore consider all that Frankl says and writes, beyond the titles and terminology; and make your own meaning from it all, because it is all profoundly good and relevant for now.
* N.B. 'Current times' means different things to different people. Like books and anything that teaches us, our responses depend on the way we see ourselves and life. 'Current times' to me means basically whether humanity can change how we live, to survive and thrive, along with all other complex life on Earth. I repeat, that this is about love, personal meaning, fearlessness, and forgiveness, which enable cooperation and transformation. And ultimately, for those who can/wish to engage with this more deeply, it's about death, denialism of death and mortality at a personal and intimate level, and acceptance of mortality so that we can engage, fully and beautifully, in living a life without fear, joyfully, gratefully, and compassionately towards others, especially the vulnerable.