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About Victor Frankl

Similarly to “Humanistic Anthropology” there is the "Logotherapy" systematized as a theory developed by Dr. Viktor Emil Frankl, M.D., Ph.D. (1905-1997).
In term of Dr. Frankl, “Existential Analysis” is another name for Logotherapy. The term “Existential” is based on three concepts in the following outline.

1) Freedom of Will
2) Meaning in Life
3) Will to Meaning

The term “analysis” of Dr. Frankl neither relates to the “analysis” used by Dr. Sigmund Freud nor to the “analysis” dealing with dissolution (atomization). It rather means to illuminate the concrete meaning originally endowed in human existences, and tries to understand “human being”. However, since the meaning of the term “analysis” was in the United States interpreted only in the sense of “dissolution”, Dr. Frankl applied for existential analysis the word “Logotherapy”.

Dr. Frankl encountered through his experience in the Auschwitz concentration camp that human search for meaning of its own action since he or she is placed to a situation of extreme. For instance, when a child was going to be sent to the gas chamber, one priest offered himself, “I will replace you and go there”, or after the rumor that some of them would be released at day of Christmas was spread, people who had survived through believing in that, died from one to another since they realized that nobody was actually released in reality, and so on. Dr. Frankl faced the fact that people who could survive at such extreme circumstances, where people who held the meaning to live.

Dr. Frankl developed Logotherapy as the third stream since this cannot be explained by the psychoanalysis of Dr. Freud who tried to explain the original form of human heart centered on sexual desires or will for pleasure claiming that human is an existence driven by impulses of its instinct. Further, it cannot be explained by Individual Psychology of Dr. Alfred Adler, a pupil of Dr. Freud who tried to explain the original form of human heart centered on will for power and human as an existence controlled by some powers as such as position, fame or money.

The terminology “Logotherapy” is a coined word of “logos” in Greek and “therapy” generally acknowledged as medical treatment. Basically the term “Logos” is has various meanings as for instance “word” or “logic”. However, here it stands for the “spirit” of human being. It is neither about a “mentality” of the instinct-level common between animal and human nor the soul mentioned in religions. In other words, it is about the “meaning” of existence of a human being or “the meaning of life”. Logotherapy is a mental (psycho) therapy that attaches great importance to the meaning of life and supports people to enrich the “meaning to live” for each person’s life.

Further Logotherapy in a broad sense is considered more than a just medical treatment - it is a “study” of human understanding through the “spirit”. Accordingly, we can interpret that Logotherapy has the same meaning as our Humanistic Anthropology.

However, Dr. Frankl’s Logotheraphy does not deny the animality in human beings, but recognizes the particular characteristic of human – the “spirit” – as the first principle and the animal “mentality” in human as second. In other words, it does not deny that humans are influenced by impulse factors or environmental factors as such as “will for pleasure” or “will to force”, but sees human as an existence that makes autonomous and responsible decisions by its own free will through its “spirit” which places a higher level in the heart and has the ability to seek for the meaning and value of life.

The Logotherapy is based on three philosophical and psychological concepts as follows:

1) Freedom of Will
2) Meaning in Life
3) Will to Meaning

Viktor Frankl's lecture (about 4 minutes)  「Search for meaning」