This seems a timely topic to revisit.
"Love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire....The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the comtemplation of his beloved." Dr. Viktor Frankl wrote these words in his classic bestseller, Man's Search for Meaning, a book that was first published in German in 1946 under the title, Ein Psycholog erlebt das Konzentrationslager (From Death-Camp to Existentialism). For good reason, Man's Search for Meaning remains one of the most important books of modern times (the Library of Congress named it one of the ten most influential books in America). Indeed, Frankl's personal story of finding a reason to live in the most horrendous of circumstances--Nazi concentration camps--has inspired millions.
So, it is against this personal backdrop that Dr. Frankl's quote about love must be considered. And considered very seriously. You see, although Dr. Frankl was blessed with surviving his horrific ordeal in four different Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz, his mother, father, wife, and brother were not so fortunate. And even though he had been stripped of everything, down--literally--to the bare bones of his humanity, Viktor Frankl experienced moments of bliss, especially when he thought of his beloved--his wife, his parents, his brother, and others who were dear to him. In no uncertain terms, Frankl learned unequivocally that love was his salvation and that, among all of the values that offered him a source of personal meaning, it was love that proved to be the "ultimate and highest goal to which he could aspire."
I would like all of us to reflect seriously upon the above passage from Man's Search for Meaning, along with Dr. Frankl's personal, love-affirming experience--today, tomorrow, and forever.
There are two online self-learning exhibits at the Global Dialogue Center that help to bring Viktor Frankl ideas to life:
- Viktor Frankl: The Man, His Message, His Principles
at the Knowledge Gallery. Also be sure to watch the excerpt from
Joel Barker's Power of Vision video filmed in Auschwitz.
- Light in the Dark: A Tribute to Viktor Frankl
with a poem by Sara Robinson
Consider these questions...
What do you think about Viktor Frankl insight? How does it make you feel?
How and in what ways are you bringing and weaving love into your life? Into your work?
Why not make now the time to affirm too that "love is the ultimate and highest goal" to which we all can aspire?! For more information about this topic, and to learn how it relates to the Will to Meaning, see Chapter 5, "Realize Your Will to Meaning," in my book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl's Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work. And, of course, let me know--either through this blog or directly--if you have any questions or comments!
Alex Pattakos, Ph.D.
author, Prisoners of Our Thoughts
founder, Center for Meaning
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