There is an absolute certainty that the Nazi concentration camps were the most dreaded historical aspect of mankind. The epitome of what horrors a man can inflict among his fellow beings. Viktor E. Frankl's Man Search for Meaning is indeed a great medium for understanding the effectuality of these camps upon the psyche of the surviving people through a direct perspective of the survivor himself. A survivor who is a psychiatrist can perfectly gauge the impact of every small incident that took place within the horrendous camps over the psyche of the inmates, who through these experiences went on to finalize his own kind of psychotherapy, a variation from psychoanalysis, aka, logotherapy.
Often the concerned book is portrayed as an existentialist read, containing practical applicability of existentialism. Part II of the book consist of a brief understanding of logotherapy which dealt with basic principles and logotherapy. Logos is a Greek word which stands for "meaning". Frankl states that contrary to the Freudian Psychoanalysis, the primary motivational force in a man is "search for meaning" in contrast to "pleasure principle". But there could lie a fallacy in presuming a necessary contrast of the former from the latter. Though Freud emphasized pleasure mostly centred along the sexual impulses but it cannot be negated with absolute certainty that the "search for meaning" is in itself a "pleasure" which humans derive from validation. Maybe it is indeed all about pleasure-principle though not necessarily sexual in nature. We, humans, yearn for meaning and validation which indeed provide a psychological pleasure; a kind of satisfaction. This yearning for validation and meaning can be an effect of the interaction of ego with the superego.
In his Noö-Dynamics' section, he emphasized the necessity of the existence of a certain degree of tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish. Also stated, "dangerous misconception of mental hygiene to assume that what man needs in the first place is equilibrium, or, as it is called in biology, "homeostasis", i.e., a tensionless state. What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal." There exists similarity of this concept with the psychoanalysis's conceptuality that humans yearn not for the fulfilment of desire as such but of a persistent continual desire, thereby refraining itself from reaching a tensionless state of mind.
Furthermore, the most severe fallacy can be observed in the section "The Essence of Existence", where Frankl has coined a term, self-transcendence of human existence. "It denotes the fact that being human always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself-be it a meaning to fulfil or another human being to encounter. Self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence. The true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system." This is portrayed as an aspect of factuality on the presupposition over the opinion that meaning of life can be discovered by three means: firstly, by creating a work or doing a deed; secondly, by experiencing something or encountering someone (love); lastly, by the attitude, we take towards unavoidable suffering.
Such an approach can often deviate from the very purpose of its conception, i.e., to allow humans to derive meaning. Nothing outside to oneself is certain or known to human. We are not in control of the external aspects that surround us. Hence, an assumption with concrete certainty that being human is always directed other than oneself (outside of oneself) is a fallacy. Directing or leaving one's ability to be human to external aspects other than the self will generate vulnerability and a sense of helplessness upon that aspect being falsified. The first one being an act prone to materialism which indeed can farther a person from self-actualization. The second being an aspect exterior to oneself, voluntarily submitting the essence of our existence to be determined by a person other than the self.
Only suffering is one such aspect that allows external and internal to coincide alongside with submitting its degree of influence into the hands of the self. Frankl also distinguishes between avoidable and unavoidable suffering in order to keep away the masochism out of the purview. But in doing so, one cannot simply ignore the fact that suffering is indeed a subjective application upon human beings. Every kind of suffering is more or less avoidable and it depends upon the attitude one takes towards concerning circumstances. A lack of remorse, an overly apathetic attitude resulting inability to experience any kind of emotional response towards the external or internal circumstances, it all render suffering as avoidable to much extend.
Ultimately, Frankl in the section of "The Super-Meaning" explicitly contradicted the fundamental principle of existentialism philosophy. "What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms." Such instances in the book reaffirm the readers with the actuality of it as "a profoundly religious book" mentioned in the Preface written by Harold S. Kushner. The existence of a meaning beyond our comprehension is conceptualized out of the presumed necessity and as the only alternative towards the face of despair and helplessness that one feels out of the meaninglessness. Moreover, a supreme-meaning was needed to validate its 1984 Postscript, "The Case for a Tragic Optimism" where the only outcome of considering inherent meaningless of the existence is considered as "nihilism". It does not take into account the vast difference between nihilism and existentialism.
Our existence is what bring "meaning" into existence. It is our consciousness that validates and comprehend aspects around us. Jean-Paul Satre's phrase, "existence precedes essence" is one of the foundational principles of existentialism. When absurdism collaborates with existentialism, it induces optimism that lies within the meaninglessness of the existence as to procreate a meaning out of nothingness and thereby rebel against it by embracing what life has to offer.
Viktor E. Frankl's logotherapy considers "happiness", as a rationalized outcome of our thinking. It is in entire contradiction with the concept of absurdity and existentialism. Albert Camus in his essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, states that despite knowing the futility of our being, one must continue to rebel against it by forming meaning amongst meaninglessness; order amongst chaos and thereby actualize the self by incorporating meaning within the eternal suffering.
The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.