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August 25, 2015 / subramanyam

Man’s search for Meaning


You are a trained doctor, you worked for hours and hours for your professional success. You, with your skills have helped many people overcome the trauma of mental diseases.  You are recently married and you have your own  dreams for a great future.

There is an ongoing war and the oppressor is targeting your religion in particular. One fine morning your worst fears come true.  The secret police is at your doorstep and they send you to the concentration camp.  You are separated from your beloved wife and your family.  You never know if you would ever come back.

You are thrown in to the camp that is shanty to begin with, scarcity is the word of the day, food,water, shelter, hygiene, love, life….  everything that a human would ever need is scarce. One man’s death is another man’s life and the prisoners are ready to kill each other to be alive. The authorities don ‘t give you enough food but force you to do some hard labor. You are kicked, jeered at and made fun of.  Every moment seems to be the last moment of your life and death  looks tiny and insignificant  when compared to the suffering you are undergoing.

 Now let’s step back and think. What happens to the people who undergo this sort of torture? What happens to the people51CDTKBPNPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ whose lives were subjected to the most inhuman of all sufferings ? What would have been the psychology  of the prisoners in the concentration camps ?  How did some of the Jews survive this holocaust and what helped them survive it? 

Viktor Frankl was one of those few who survived the tortures of the Nazi concentration camps.  He is a doctor and a psychiatrist. During the second world war  he was put in the Auschwitz Concentration camp and another camp before he was liberated by the allied forces.  The book “Man’s search for meaning” speaks about his experiences in these camps.

Why should one read the book ? 

This book delves deep in to the psyche of humans and tells us about the limitations of pain. It asks uncomfortable questions and makes us aware of some great characteristics that we humans possess.  It celebrates the triumph of hope over the most severe trials of life. It speaks about hope, suffering, love and other human emotions in a totally different way.  It speaks about the way these prisoners gave hope to each other.  The author who is a doctor himself analyses the mentality of these prisoners. He speaks the troubles and travails of instilling hope into these prisoners. He speaks about the desperation, the angst, the pangs of hunger, the sleeplessness and the effect of all these on the brain of the people. He speaks about the reaction of people to the death of their fellowmen. The best part is that it speaks about the psychology of people after they get released.  This to me stands out as one of the best things that this book has got to offer.

Undoubtedly one of the best books I ever read.  Well, I am not alone when I say that.  The fact that 9 million copies of the book have been sold out stands as a testimony for the greatness of the book.

I don’t want to speak more I would appeal one and all to read this book. This might just be one the best books you ever read in your life.

Happy Reading .

 Incidentally this is the 100th Book Review on My Blog.

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