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Man Search for Meaning

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lylyway
Words 2220
Pages 9
Tuan Nguyen Professor Jeffrey McMahon
July 28, 2014
English 1C
Drama in Meaning
I had a friend who studied with me in elementary to high school; her name was Lan. She was unlike other friends, always controlled by her parents. Because she grew up in a rich family and her parents did not want her to contact other people, she always isolated herself from the collective class. She couldn’t do whatever she wanted, just listened and did the thing that her parents want. With her, there was no goal and purpose in her life anymore. Lan did not care and just blindly did it; she was blind and lied to herself. This girl became frustrated and gradually stepped deeper into the whole of sink and darkness that she was digging up for herself. She couldn’t escape from her darkness because she never tried to escape from it. She only listened to her parents and not listen to herself about what she needed and what she wanted. Lan was not able to live a good life, and she was not being to find her purpose in life. When Lan did the things right, she usually considered that she was good and perfect; she thought that her life was perfect and there was no need to correct or change the way it was. This thought would make her easily become self- satisfied. Lan, who was also not moving or making any changing to adapt to the new situations suddenly come to life, was allowing bad things to come in her life. Moreover, without changing, she would be leaved behind and she would not be able to find the way out by herself. Her life ended up with full of frustrations, hopelessness, and unhappiness. Moreover, Lan’s life seemed to lose of meaning when she listened to her parents and went to the U.S to study for her future. Lan wanted to be a fashion designer and went to the Art and Design University in Vietnam. Because of her parents, they wanted her to go to the US to study as a business major; she abandoned her dream and studied the major her parents want. Although, business was not a major she interests, she still got a very high grade. She was the smartest person in an international student group. Lan was a good student and also a good child because she always obeyed to her parents and makes her parents happy. Everyone thinks that she was a happy person, but no one understood that she never felt happy and satisfied. She didn’t feel interested in her life. She did not understand a valuable meaning of her life. She felt tired and bored because she couldn’t do whatever she wanted. Sometime, she wanted to give up, but she couldn’t do that because she did not want to make her parents disappointed to her.
In addition, Lan’s life went worse when she continued to obey her parents. She got married with a person she never met before and didn’t have any feeling on him. Because her parents wanted her has a green card to lives legally in the US without paying expensive situation fees, they made her get married with a person who she did not have any feelings. That person was a son of her parent’s friend named Phat. Lan still got married with Phat at a very young age: twenty years old; although, she did not love him and not even know how he was. The reason Lan got married with Phat that she needed to listen to her parents because of Vietnamese traditions. Vietnamese tradition was children supposed to listen to their parents all the time, especially in marriage. She thought that sacrificing her life to make her parents feel happy was not the end of the life. Another reason was that she did not have a boyfriend yet, got married with a person she did not love was not a big problem. On her wedding day, she was unlike other brides they were very happy on their wedding day, but Lan’s face didn’t seem to be happy. One year later after her wedding, she got pregnant and has a child. She couldn’t do anything she wanted, just stayed at home and took care of her child. Lan never lived for herself; her meaning of life was to bring happiness to people around her, specially her parents. Life is a series of challenges that human beings have different views in the meaning. They may find the meaning of life in a religious belief or in particular circumstances; in addition, many people feel the meaning of life is simply to experience the journey. However, one person’s meaning will not work for another person. Everyone must find her or his own meaning. Similarly, Viktor Frankl’s Man Search for Meaning narrates many dramatic and tense journeys of moments that life in the concentration camp is like hell. However, human beings have various ways to overcome the existential vacuum with the type of meaning that Frankl articulates evidences by sacrificing the comfort to help others, being awareness to overcome the emptiness, meaning of how Logotherapy apply to life, and also unshrinking of reaching to the truth. First of all, self- sacrifice is known as critical mind and a part of body oxygen to be happiness that giving up one’s interests or desires in order to help others. According to Viktor Frankl, his life starts suffering when he entrances to Auschwitz, a place seems to be entering the death life. Not only that, Frankl and his fellow prisoners stay in the freeze weather without having the heat around; they don’t have enough food to eat even sharing a piece of bread for each other; they also have to wear the same clothes for a while during the camp (Frankl 45). Many of prisoners in the camp feel apathetic and hopelessness; they feel like the constant danger of death looming over them daily and hourly; furthermore, suffering plays an important role during the camp that just a small piece of help can bring happiness to others prisoners in the camp. Frankl also shares his experiences to make the prisoners believe that there is always a sight of hopefulness and happiness, even sacrificing their own life to just save someone when the hardships come. Their meaning of life sometimes is just an illusion. All they could do to let their fear away is praying for surviving through the hard time. Life is not smooth as it goes on, people know the reason why for their existences, and they will be able to bear almost anyhow. Guide of awareness is one of the paths that overcome the existential vacuum. It is difficult to strive for, but it is not impossible to follow the new sight of life. They always have the meaning for their life and live for their purpose. The book Man Search for Meaning is a very good book that contrasts two kinds of people. One type is willing to fight with any problems. They always have the meaning for their life and live for their ideals. They don’t want to accept anything that they think it can lead them into the bad situation and try their best to find the ways to solve those problems. Those people above has an collection of meanings for their life such as health, approval of one's peers, material wealth, good love-life, family relations, comfort, and happiness. In contrast, the other type has a big different life style comparing to those people above. They live in pessimism. They don’t want to fight with the hard things or their problems in the life. They have a pessimistic attitude to the real life and always hide or run away as far as possible with the problems that they can’t solve. For these people, they always find the easy work to do and rely on the friends or anyone that helps them to solve their problems. They don’t think like the other kind of people and always make worse for their problems. They always have the bad conditions for their life such as suffering, poor health, brutality, deprivation, lack of material comfort, the closeness of death, etc. In Frankl's experience, those people simply give up on their life under any conditions, and choose suicide, in one form or another. In addition, two kinds of people appear very clearly in the concentration camps that Frankl spends a long time to recognize what is the meaning of the life and write this book to describe how the prisoners are. For Victor Frankl, the survivors live for their meaning of life and they are always optimistic people. In addition, the remaining prisoners are always pessimistic people who have no meaning and purpose in their life (Lickerman,psy). However, during the concentration camp, the prisoners are fed small amounts of bread and watery soup. Without proper nourishment, the prisoner’s bodies start to devour themselves, making it even harder for a prisoner to survive the camp. What they can do is to keep their sense of humor and point out the natural beauty of the world such as a sunset. Frankl shares many more of his experiences, and lastly explains how a prisoner reacts after their liberation. He shares one of his experiences after rescuing; a prisoner has a hard time escaping the apathy that has encompassed his whole life. Frankl shares an example, “We came to meadows full of flowers. We saw and realized what they were, but had no feelings about them” (109). This quote helps represent how hard the transition from a death camp into real life. Frankl has explained how a prisoner had lost the abilities to feel joy and had to relearn the ability slowly. No matter how challenges of lives, guide of awareness is really take time to do. We should set ourselves free and strive for things that we are heading for.
Life has meaning under all circumstances even the most miserable ones. Man’s Search for Meaning is known as a record of a man’s experiences in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II; Frankl introduces Logotherapy, which he invents while suffering inside the camp. In the concentration camps, Frankl has learned that people who find meaning to their lives will be worth-while and survive. And, those who do not merely gave up and died. Thus, upon his liberation, he realizes that a therapy in which the problems are solved by finding meaning in one’s life. Frankl finds existential vacuum; the existential vacuum discusses that people who don’t live for themselves; and, “Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do (conformism) or he does what other people wish him to do (totalitarianism)”(128). It will be leaded you to boredom, and cannot find a way out. According to Professor McMahon, he states, “the existential vacuum results in boredom, and it is in boredom where we get into trouble, devising all sorts of self-destructive schemes to fill the vacuum.” It is not easy to derive something that called meaning during the concentration camp; however, people have to understand in learning how to be patient in which their free will build up the abilities to overcome the emptiness, and bitterness in lives. Finally, the path of overcome existential vacuum is unshrinking of reaching to the truth. Most of people are inherently neither good nor evil but display equal capacity for both. They cannot get away with their loneliness and depression which they have been done in the past; however, those experiences would exist for a while until they understand the meaning of freedom in living with a new sight of lives. According to the Ellen McGrath, a psychologist, said that suffering is mostly started out as deep bitterness, but it is just an example of how life goes on. To free from the impediments, people must know that life is a learned skill like communication skills. The more people can communicate, the less depressed they will have because of “an act of will” decrease the failure experiences. No matter how tough that person is, there is always a way to go to stand up for reaching freedom from the hardness, and speaking up as the right decisions; therefore, it is self- respect of unshrinking of reaching to the truth. Indeed, there are many types of meaning that we can overcome the existential vacuum such as sacrificing the comfort to help others, being awareness to get away the emptiness, meaning of how Logotherapy apply to life, and also unshrinking of reaching to the truth. Meaning is not something out there that we can find easily. Actually, it is in each of us. It is our characters. No matter how time passes by, there is still fulfilled of meaning for the human beings in the future.

Works Cited
Frankl, Viktor Emil. Man's Search for Meaning. Boston, MA: Washington Square, 1984. Print.
Lebon, Tim. "Viktor Frankl and Logotherapy." Viktor Frankl and Logotherapy. N.p., 27 July
2012. Web. 14 May 2014.
Lickerman, Alex M.D. “Happiness in this World.” Happiness in this World. Reflection of a
Buddhist Physican.12 March 2012. Web. 14 May 2014.
McMahon, Jeffrey. "Critical Thinker." 'Critical Thinker' Breakingthrough Writer, 18 Apr. 2014.
Web. 14 May 2014.…...

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