Life Purpose & Longevity Part 4: Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl)


This is the first time we’ve ever seen a
very significant scientifically dose-response effect for having a strong
focus on meaning in life and survival. This video is the last in a series on
survival and a sense of purpose; Longevity and a purpose driven life.
Viktor Frankl and “Man’s Search for Meaning” is the topic for today. Viktor
Frankl was a physician; a psychiatrist who experienced the concentration camps. He was Jewish but even before getting entered into the concentration camps, he
had a strong focus on suicide prevention and had been incredibly successful in
this area. His perspective was having a sense of purpose in life created a huge
ability to survive. And he felt that even beyond suicide, you could survive
incredible challenges like a concentration camp if you had a strong
enough sense of survival and a strong enough purpose for living. Again, one of
the – he was a major star in terms of suicide prevention. We’ll talk about that
in just a minute; but one of his major techniques, coming out of the blocks and
interviews with patients, was to start off with something like “Why do you not
commit suicide?” That sounds harsh, but he found that
earnestly digging into that question really helped the patient understand
just what is the purpose for my life; the meaning for my life that may be bigger
than me; bigger than my opinions; bigger than what I want to do; bigger than me
and something worth surviving for. So, Franco was born in March 26, 1905; died
September 2nd in 1997. He was entered, as I said, in several different
concentration camps. Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Kaufering, and Turkheim. Turkheim, and Kaufering (I think) were wastage camps for Auschwitz. He developed a
logotherapy. It’s classified as a form of existential
analysis. And we’ll talk about it a little bit more in a minute. He also coined the term “Existential Vacuum” If you’ve read the
book “Ecclesiastes” in the judeo-christian Bible, the Old Testament, it starts off
with “Vanity, vanity; all is vanity…” or something like that. That word could
actually be interpreted as mist or smoke or uselessness. And it’s an older King
Solomon demonstrating exactly what Viktor Frankl would call the existential
vacuum – staring into the jaws of death and meaninglessness in life. Within a few
months of getting rescued by the (I think) was the Americans at Auschwitz, he wrote the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” That book has sold 12 million copies and has
been translated into 24 languages. it’s a popular book and it’s a
short book; doesn’t take long to read it. If you haven’t read it, I would strongly
suggest it. Just like everybody else, the claim also gets involved with a lot of
controversy. He was as well (pardon my misspelling of Auschwitz – just never
gonna get all of my video graphics right, am I?) There was controversy regarding
just how long and how much time he spent at Auschwitz. Was he involved in
some lobotomy procedures? Did not see socialism foster logotherapy
prior to the war and even during the war, etc. I’m not gonna get into any of the
controversies. This is gonna be a fairly light, fairly quick video. If you’re
interested in a 2-day boot camp type of environment where you get your CIMT,
you get all your labs, and we spend two days going over the whole thing, check
out our event! It’s November 8th and 9th at Louisville. Great place to fly into in
November at the University of Louisville. Victor Frankl, early days. 1922, he said
that – he tells the story about as a 17 year old, he sent a letter to the big
star in Vienna in psychiatry – Sigmund Freud. He said that he got a response
from Freud and Freud actually even wanted to publish an article with him on
suicide prevention. In 1928, he was a medical student and he developed a
program where they provided free counseling to students, himself, and a
bunch of psychologists. It was very successful. Each year (about May during
the year) during exam time, there was always a number of student suicides.
During this counseling program that Viktor Frankl started, the student
suicides plummeted to zero. Based on hearing that, Wilhelm Reich sent him an invitation for him to come to Berlin to talk about his
program. Again, part of the seeds of that controversy on whether or not social
– Nazi socialism actually – how much they encouraged his work. In ’33 to ’37, he did a residency in psychiatry and neurology. He treated over 3,000 suicide patients
during that time. So, again, a major focus on suicide there. In 1938, when everything
clamped down in Austria and Germany due to the Nazis, since he was Jewish, he was no longer allowed to treat any Aryans and,
therefore, focused all of his treatment on prisoners. Logotherapy.
He developed logotherapy. It’s considered a type of existential analysis and, again,
most of us tend to think of Nihilism and all those guys when we think of
existentialism but he’s actually more the opposite. Logos means – is Greek
for the – for – meaning “word” and his focus is using the therapy to find a patient’s
meaning in life, their beliefs, their faith system. And, of course, as we’ve
already covered, part of his point was – This is not just suicide prevention. It’s
survival. We’ll talk about studies – follow-up studies in that area in just a
minute. We’ve cut – we’ve already done a video on survival of concentration camp
survivors but this is not just about concentration camps and history.
Logotherapy is the major thing right now, in terms of other things that can be
humanized human beings, like cancer and other adversities. So, again, thanks for
your interest in the video. Just a quick review of the rest of the series – it started
off with my discussion of Ecclesiastes 1 – that everything is vanity; King
Solomon and Victor Frankl’s existential vacuum; if you’re not familiar with the
book Ecclesiastes, go to chapter 3 verses 1 through 8. If you’re an old rhythm and
blues type of – well, this is not rhythm and blues – this was a pop song: Turn, turn, turn. To everything there’s a season… By the birds. So, an interesting connection
to our culture. I mentioned several times: survival, even during the toughest times
in life. And, yes, there’s been recently – just over the past couple of months –
article that was published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical
Association) is the Holocaust paradox. Basically, here’s the bond.
And I think it’s very interesting. My elementary school teacher taught that
those who hass emerged from the horrors of the camp’s would die young. A reasonable
assumption but wrong. And this is exactly what the point was. They’ve recently done
a comparison of mortality and comorbidity or illness rates between
Holocaust survivors and individuals in the general population in Israel. What
they found was – Yes, the Holocaust survivors were sicker. They had higher
cancer rates, insulin resistance rates, heart attack rates, you name it. But, they
lived longer. This is – the blue is the lifespan of the control guys and the
yellow, here, is the lifespan of the Holocaust survivors. So, it’s interesting.
Again, if you have interest in this whole article, I’ve done a complete video on it.
There’s also been another article that came out of JAMA network over the
past couple of months. It’s a little bit more academic article. Well, both of them
are academically very rigorous or scientifically very rigorous. This one is
looking at her BAE that’s been going on for the past what twenty years or so
it’s called the health and retirement survey they looked at about 10,000
people the all cost survivor survey by the way looked at like 40,000 39,000
survivors and 35,000 controls so big big study this studies about 10,000 people
total I think well 6,000 7,000 and basically this is the image that tells
it all for this study they gave them a survey regarding their own purpose in
life the stronger their purpose in life the higher they scored on this purpose
in life survey the longer they lived these in the black line were the folks
that scored the lowest next lowest next lowest and these guys in the yellow line
were the highest. This is survival probability and this is time period. So,
again, there’s been interest in this issue before but most of the studies in
the past (are) looking at survival and longevity.
Focused on one or two questions. A lot of Japanese things, especially in Okinawa.
The – one of the blue zones, they just asked “Do you have a strong ikigai?” An Ikigai meaning “purpose in life” This one – again, this is the first time
we’ve ever seen a very significant scientifically dose-response effect for
having a strong focus on meaning in life and survival. Thank you,
again, for your interest. Would you like to get your CIMT and labs all
coordinated for you and done it one time over a two-day period? Check out our
event! It’s going to be in Louisville November 8th and 9th

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