Frankl on the Highest Good

Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in my life. A pyschotherapist whose landmark theory was lived through the horrific experience of not only losing freedom, but facing a new reality in a concentration camp. Such horror I cannot pretend to understand – only recollect a harrowing feeling I experienced watching Solomon Northup’s story in 12 Years as a Slave. There is no shortage of philosophies of the highest good, but for extraordinary individuals like Solomon Northup and Viktor Frankl lie a truly unique perspective. In the midst Frankl’s despair came this revelation:

“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.” (Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, page 37)

To Frankl, the highest level of being, of human existence, is love.

Image credit: Prof. Dr. Franz Vesely

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