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Man's Search for Meaning: Critical Analysis of Man’s Authenticity

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Background of the Study

Statement of the Problem

This paper deals with man’s authenticity in the process of claiming the wholeness through the meaning of human condition. An existential crisis of finding meaning despite of the harshest condition in life. A crisis that occurs to everyone. A crisis that sometimes led a person to give up and commit outrageous act that destroy one dignity in life. In the process of finding meaning, it is important to know the nature of human person. Thus, the logotherapy of Viktor Frankl greatly help the person who in his devastating condition be confronted with and reoriented toward the meaning of his life. To elaborate on those ideas, this paper will further answer these following questions:

  1. Is the existence of man meaningful? What exists fundamentally in life and how man should view it? Is there a meaning in life that can truly cherished?
  2. What are the essentials of life component that make life worth living for and meaningful? Is it sufficiently strong that man can commit to be goal oriented and ignore the unauthentic part life?
  3. In comparison to individual’s personal and family problem as a concentration camp, how can one find significance in life despite of difficulties and struggles? Is not the meaning ultimately to be found in something which transcends the narrowness of individual existence? How can man truly find a meaningful life?

Significance of the Study

This paper will help people who are prone to despair that despite of life’s difficulty there is always a light which in every condition of man find a meaning behind it. For those individuals who continually searching and hoping to find answers to their questions about the significance of life. One’s own existence differ from another. For certain individuals, there reason for existing is associated with deeds, in fulfilling work. For other people, their motivation lies in their obligations to their family or companions.


This paper claim that man’s comprehension of human condition as it emerged in the most outrageous and harshest of conditions will even find meaning in life. The researcher will support his claim by presenting that what lie beyond any man’s condition is a meaning that only he himself can comprehend and appreciate and not any other, even in the harshest process in life one will still be able to find meaning in it. The researcher will also provide thoughts from other philosopher who thinks that what determine in life is the determination to achieve anything that a will to live upon any other being is what matter most.

In the first part of the paper, the researcher will argue that to find meaning in life it cannot be answered in general terms. A meaning that can found in either in an active way or passive way of enjoyment. An active life that manifested in one’s work and deed. A deed that greatly contribute to everyone not just by oneself.

Man can also find meaning in the latent existence of happiness or in the passive way of enjoyment. A meaning that arises in encountering something or someone. The main concern is there is a method for being and seeing that establishes another importance of life, along these lines typically connected with the most notable type of adoration and that is love. This type of discovering meaning in life is not an active type; rather it is a type of surrendering and giving up.

In the second part of the paper, the researcher will tackle the most vital part of how man could manage unavoidable suffering and still be able to find meaning in it. Man can take stand no matter what circumstances he is in, even if he is deprive of many things in life. Man can choose to transcend any difficulty in life even towards death. Man even in the harshest condition still has the ability to find meaning in it.

In the latter part of the paper, the researcher will validate the authenticity of man in the process of claiming the wholeness through the meaning of condition by presenting the experience of Viktor Frankl and the life of Maximillian Colbe. That there is a sense of moral courage to stand out from any condition. The meaning of life can be strengthen through hardship and by overcoming difficulty in life. There is an unrestrained choice in life. Man’s main concern is to fulfill meaning and actualize values. Often times, individuals make due with the quest for pleasure and power just when they fail to discover meaning. Thus, the meaning is one of a kind and explicit in that it should and can be satisfied by only him, at exactly that point does it accomplish a significance which will fulfill his own will to meaning.

The Significance of Man’s Life

Is there an objective and rational way to understand the ultimate and objective meaning of life?

Actual existence of authentic life pulls in us with its clarity and aliveness. Yet, one cannot however ponder whether such a life is too much to anticipate. Man essential inspiration is the will to meaning. This uniqueness and singleness that recognizes every person and gives an importance to his reality has a direction on innovative work as much as it does on human love. Human being are not a life form that simply seeking for pleasure or power but a life form that continually evolving and seek meaning in life. In fact, individual make due with the quest for pleasure and power just when they fail to discover significance in life.

Active Way of Enjoyment – Creating

The primary method to discover meaning is through a functioning life in which you make a work or complete a deed. An active life serves the reason for allowing man the chance to acknowledge esteems in innovative work.[footnoteRef:1] Every individual has an exceptional condition, and everyone has unique purpose in life. In that way Viktor Frankl does not believe that the significance of life can be replied in general terms because the importance of life varies from man to man, day to day, and hour to hour.[footnoteRef:2] Definitely, there is an open door that anticipates throughout everyday life. An open door that extraordinarily decided one’s destiny throughout everyday life. Man may discover meaning in things that really interest in his mind. He may discover significance by being great at his particular employment. The deeds that man do add to an option that is more prominent than oneself that it may able to contribute to the community. [1: Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning; An Introduction to Logotheraphy 4TH Ed, trans., by Ilse Lasch (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992) 130.] [2: Frankl, Man’s, 86.]

The true significance in discovering meaning in life is to dwell in creation rather than putting oneself in a box where there is no room for improvement. That is self-transcendence[footnoteRef:3] through work or service. Man in every possible way must indulge in things that may interest and help him get out of the box. For instance, if man is fond of education then he will always try his best to achieve excellence that led to a meaning in it. Thus, one may discover meaning in doing great at one’s particular pace. By accomplishing and achieving something that put a lot of a person’s effort and time is a worth it a meaningful one that can be truly cherished. [3: Frankl, Man’s, 133.]

Man’s creation or activity does not need to be apparent to be called a decent creation. By having this in mind, it would not defeat the essence of making a humble work that pleased the creator.

Passive Way of Enjoyment

The second method to discover meaning is through the latent existence of happiness or the passive way of enjoyment. It is called the passive way of enjoyment because it is latent way of expressing. It is there like a wind that you know that it exists but it cannot be seen apparently. This method is not an active type, rather it is a type of surrendering and giving up for love to transcend. This manages an individual the chance to get satisfaction in encountering excellence in beauty, art, or nature.[footnoteRef:4] It is implying that emerges in experiencing a person or thing that changes how one see reality. As of now, you are alive, its mind blowing in the event of life that man could by one way or another change the manner in which one fit to see, that is by encountering the extraordinary beauty, wonder, and mystery in life. A person may be the kind of individual that can discover significance in life by just lying in bed for the whole day and getting a charge out of it. Frankl proposes that man can discover meaning in this type of aloof happiness or in the passive way of enjoyment. [4: Frankl, Man’s, 67.]

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The bottom line of this method is about love. On love, Frankl states that love is the best way to get a handle on another individual in the deepest center of his identity.[footnoteRef:5] In Frankl’s experience in the concentration camp, he depicts on how he was console in his struggle by envisioning his adored spouse. He discovered significance in recollecting her affection. Right then at the very moment when one is in constant recollection of latent affection towards their beloved they can understood and can find meaning in living. It was not just the desire for seeing her that kept him alive, however the memory, which gave him a cherishing perspective as he pondered her. He composes that the memory of holding that affection before his eyes was sufficient, regardless of whether he realized that his wife was dead. Once more, this significance of life is in a method for seeing or adoring, not really doing or acting anything. Whether all expectation of seeing his significant other is gone, seeing through the eyes of affection is sufficient, that it can be counted as a wonderful meaning in one’s life. Regardless whether that memory is at some point ruined, he can at present hold it in his mind and return to an approach for seeing that it is love. [5: Frankl, Man’s, 134.]

Even if an individual had carried on with a narrow-minded life. In the end, he will appreciate the experience he is presently having. Even if he has nobody to converse with aside from a book. However, as he converses with the book, he encounters something unutterable. By having a book as a companion, he encounters meaning. The book may have meaning to the man and find life in it. This is hard to comprehend, yet one may discover significance in life in an inexpressible and lovely method for seeing that may rise above personal responsibility. That is, discovering meaning in the most notable adoration, in seeing reality with love.

Once more, as long as an individual does not surrender to lose hope, one may discover meaning in a latent method, in an experience with the book that is an experience with love. A love that transcend an individual because of softness, emptiness, and the loss of self which enabled man the experience of adoration to emerge inside him. The main concern is there is a method for being and seeing that establishes another importance of life, and along these lines is typically connected with the most notable type of adoration and that is love.

The Meaning in Suffering

Sometimes it is the gravity of the hardships or difficulties we face that drives us to identify the significance of life’s moments.[footnoteRef:6] When there is a meaning in life, then there is also meaning in suffering. A meaning that will incredibly transcend the nature of man. Suffering is always at man’s side, for without suffering there would be no color to life. Suffering is the partner of enjoyment. This does not mean that man ought to make suffering, rather it is about how an individual manage unavoidable suffering. Too much sufferings are brought about by a feeling of insignificance or meaninglessness. The hopeless feeling that dragged down the human person to live no more upon any condition in life. Obviously, if suffering were avoidable,[footnoteRef:7] no individual would eventually want it in his or her lives. Nevertheless, that in reality suffering is unavoidable, yet man can choose to change the frames of mind to discover significance in life and put meaning in it. [6: Alex Pattakos, Prisoners of our thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s principles for discovering meaning in life and work, second edition revised and updated (California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., 2008) 93.] [7: Frankl, Man’s, 136.]

When we are never again ready to change a circumstance, we are tested to change ourselves,[footnoteRef:8] which bore a striking similitude to every individual who used to think that they do not had anything more to anticipate from life. There are individuals who see’s life as meaningless and would continue to see it as meaningless unless some sort of miracle will happen along the way. They see suffering as a barricade that cannot be surpass. An opponent that cannot be outdone. Thus, ironically giving up on the quest of finding significance in life is the only option they see. On the contrary, there are individuals who see suffering as an opportunity rather than a problem that needed to deal with. An opponent that must be outdone no matter what the risk is. For these individual perceives things in a different way, where their quest for finding significance in life is. Thus, man can built up the understanding that he could change the manner in which he saw and responded to his new, discomforting conditions, and turn it to a new type of achievement and success. [8: Frankl, Man’s, 135.]

Man should always remember that we might likewise discover meaning in life nevertheless when stood up to with a miserable circumstance, when confronting a destiny that cannot be change.[footnoteRef:9] For what will matter most at that certain moment is how an individual will handle the disaster that befall upon him and turn it into his own strength. A strength that will bring him to accomplishment and victory. A victory that even his own self cannot not comprehend until he find value and meaning in it. [9: Frankl, Man’s, 135.]

The way man handle and acknowledge unavoidable sufferings gives an adequate chance to add understanding and importance in life. An individual can stay courageous, honorable and unselfish even in the outrageous and harshest condition.[footnoteRef:10] In the unpleasant battle for self-safeguarding, an individual may overlook his human pride and become more human than an animal. Here lies the possibility for a man either to utilize or to do without the chances of achieving the ethical qualities that a tough condition may manage the cost of him whether he is deserving of his sufferings or not. In the event that man are troubled for unavoidable reasons, one must not tune in to those individuals who need to fulfill or attempt to make and feel hopeless for being miserable. Sometimes it is great and appropriate to be troubled, and man can in any case discover meaning throughout it in his everyday life. Discovering meaning is more important than pleasure and bliss. When you discover meaning, you enter a condition of being that rises above pleasure and bliss. [10: Frankl, Man’s, 67.]

‘Even the vulnerable casualty of a miserable circumstance, confronting a destiny he can’t change, may transcend himself, may develop past himself, and by so doing change himself. He may transform an individual catastrophe into a triumph”[footnoteRef:11] [11: Frankl, Man’s, 146.]

In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of life, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen.55

Authenticity of Man

Man’s life is like a labyrinth, which is not a riddle to be explain, yet a path of meaning to be experience.[footnoteRef:12] Authenticity finds meaning in a specific style of uniqueness in human being. Such an authentic method for living appeared differently in relation to the falsity of a basic existence where man lost in the secrecy of the group. Such an actual existence of authentic way pulls in us with its clarity and aliveness. Yet, one cannot however ponder whether such a life is not too much to anticipate. [12: Pattakos, thoughts, 28.]

Unrestrained choice the concept of opportunity

Frankl believe that man generally have some level of opportunity, and that man can utilize this opportunity to find importance in life. He expresses, ‘what was at last in charge of the condition of the detainee’s internal identity was less the mental causes but rather more it was the aftereffect of a free choice.'[footnoteRef:13] [13: Frankl, Man’s, 69.]

How about we investigate a portion of the recorded occasions to more readily comprehend his concept of opportunity. In his book in titled “Mans Search for Meaning,” Frankl portrays his awful encounters in the death camp. He portrays detainees called Capos[footnoteRef:14] who were eager to do anything for power and survival. The experience is like the survival of the fittest, beating fellow Capos more than the guards. Frankl states, ‘Just those detainees could keep alive who, following quite a while of trekking from camp to camp, had lost all compunctions in their battle for presence; they were set up to utilize each mean, legit and something else, even severe power, burglary, and double-crossing of their companions, so as to spare themselves'[footnoteRef:15] [14: Frankl, Man’s, 21.] [15: ?]

Freedom to discover meaning

“that which was ultimately responsible for the state of the prisoner’s inner self was not so much the psychological causes as it was the result of a free decision.”[footnoteRef:16] [16: ]


Every individual face his very own conflicts each day, nothing trivial, yet there is always that thing called losing or winning. My take is we never lose; it is most likely a bypass in camouflage driving us to something better. Something meaningful that will probably change our very own view in life.


Primary Texts:

  1. Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning; An Introduction to Logotheraphy 4TH Ed. Translated by Ilse Lasch. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.
  2. Man’s Search for Meaning, revised and updated. New York: Washington square press, 1988.

Secondary Source:

  1. Frankl, Viktor. The Unheard Cry for Meaning. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978
  2. Holmes, Jeremy. ‘Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.’ British Journal of Psychiatry 205, no. 02 (2014): 102. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.113.133520.
  3. Kovacs, George. ‘Ultimate Reality and Meaning in Viktor E. Frankl.’ Ultimate Reality and Meaning 5, no. 2 (1982): 118-39. doi:10.3138/uram.5.2.118
  4. Pattakos, Alex. Prisoners of our thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s principles for discovering meaning in life and work. Second edition revised and updated. California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., 2008.

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