Updated: Feb 18
Man's Search For Meaning In Spirituality is a short book consisting of 57 pages by Dr. "Dan" Matzke and was published on Amazon Kindle in 2013. As noted in the opening, the book builds upon the work of Viktor Frankl. In a nutshell, it is about different problems humans face, their responses to those problems, and how our responses can create meaning in our lives.
According to Dr. Dan, one of life's "ultimate" concerns is that of aloneness or separateness. Although many of us are surrounded by people, friends, and family, we still feel separate from humanity and the world. No matter what we do in life, how many people we affect, our number of Facebook friends or Tweets, we still die alone. Nevertheless, only by accepting this aloneness can we ease the tension it creates.
Another issue that Dr. Dan highlights that causes people tension is that of change and endings; on this he notes, the only certainty in life is change. Yet, it is this very same constant that many of us fear on the deepest of levels. On death he says the following:
People are not so much afraid of their death as they are afraid of the incompleteness of their life. A person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. He may avoid suffering, pain, may postpone death, but he limits his capacity to learn, to grow, and to live.
What else causes tension in our life? Dr. Dan goes on to list many. But one intriguing source is our freedom, which causes some of us to have "Sunday Neurosis". This is a result of the post-modern world coupled with our evolutionary progression. Our need to always work, to always make progress creates an illness within. Although there should be a balance between work, love, and play; work pesters us and makes into automatons. Balance is required.
The endeavor to answer the question of life, of meaning, can lead one down a black hole to which one can never escape. On this, Dr. Dan has the following words of wisdom:
Analysis leads to paralysis. If we are very busy analyzing life, asking all sorts of "why" or "what for" questions, we tend to get paralyzed. We are impaired. Our ability to engage in life, to fully participate, is blocked. The direct quest for the ultimate meaning of life can be a self-sabotaging endeavor.
The search for life meaning is paradoxical in that the more we search for it, the less we find it.
The answer, a sense of meaning and purpose in life, is found by looking away from the question, by disengaging from the cosmic viewpoint, and by engaging in life.
So how does one find the meaning of life? According to Dr. Dan, the means for establishing meaning is manifested in: Creativity, Experiences, and Attitude. Each of us has the creativity to achieve new things and the ability to experience, and it is our attitude which determines the direction we take.
Overall, Dr. Dan's book building on Viktor Frankl's work is okay but terse. It also lacked the magic that made Frankl's work great. Then again, how can any book, any work genuinely compare to that of Frankl's? This book offers solid counsel on life and can be read within a short period of time and is recommended for those looking for an academic piece on the subject. Book rating:
Overall - 5 MOL Relevance - 7 Uniqueness - 5
Have you read the book? If so, what did you think?