SEARCH – Discussion questions for Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning

  1. In what ways does the concept of “Will to Meaning” show up in the book?
  1. “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” What does this mean?  Do you agree?
  1. Is suffering necessary to growth?
  1. Why do you think Frankl emphasized the need for mental strength over physical strength as the path to survival? Do you agree with his rationale?
  1. What might have motivated some prisoners to acts of relative compassion while others in the same circumstances were not compassionate?
  1. Is there any justification for the ways in which the Capos treated their fellow prisoners? What might explain this?
  1. Does Frankl legitimately create meaning from his and others’ suffering, or do his ideas fall short of their goal?
  1. What aspects of the concentration camps seem most designed to cause existential crises?
  1. Are the stages of a prisoner’s experience (shock, apathy, etc.) the only ways to survive their experiences, or do other ways exist?
  2. What aspects of the narrative had the most power for you?
  3. In what ways was this narrative similar to other Holocaust narratives you have read/seen? What were the primary differences?
  4. Any other topics you wish to discuss.

These are the questions we will start with tomorrow. Feel free to prepare in advance.


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