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Riles Reads: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

man’s search for meaning collage poem

I first read Man's Search for Meaning in high school, I think because my stepmom told  me it was good. i'm not sure i even realized how much the ideas in it impacted my personal life philosophy until i picked it up again recently at a used book shop and started cutting lines from it.

the book is written by Viktor Frankl, an austrian psychiatrist who writes about his time as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. he writes about the psychological state of the prisoners, and how the attitude of those who chose to find meaning in their lives, despite their external circumstances, is what kept them alive. he then lays out his theory of "logotherapy" -- basically the therapy of helping a patient find such a source of meaning in their lives. 

one regularly quoted passage that sums this up well is:

 Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. 

this idea of choosing one's own attitude and giving oneself meaning shapes a huge part of my personal outlook on the world. & frankl's way of writing about it is simultaneously very matter of fact & very poetic, which make it a great source of phrases for my work.

one of my favorite blogs, Brainpickings, has a wonderful article about this book that i definitely suggest you read if you're interested in learning more about this book or it's author. 

i tend to choose lines from this book for collage poetry when i'm thinking about human emotions and how we interact with them. frankl's language of self investigation is great for introspective poems.

here are a few collage poems i have made with pieces from this book:






i still have much of the book to cut from, so you can expect to continue seeing lines from viktor frankl for a while to come.

drop a comment if you've read this book -- i'd love to hear what you think about it!

and if you want to read more source highlights, where i talk about the books i use as source material for my work, click here

Thank you for being here 👋 I'm a queer creative based in Barcelona working to be a good human and contribute to a world full of joy & care for ourselves and for future generations.

I want to work together to help you create the world you want to live in. I write, make art, and create community spaces for us to to share thoughts, feelings, & opportunities for us to explore together. Being human is hard, but we can make it easier for each other. I believe in us. 💜

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