Mervin Smucker (2015). Finding Meaning in Suffering: A Logotherapy Perspective

Viktor Frankl’s years of personal experience spent as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps led him to pursue the question of how to make sense of, or find larger meaning and purpose in senseless suffering.  In particular, he purported that meaning may be found in seemingly hopeless situations, even when facing a fate that cannot be changed. At such a time, an individual is challenged to activate his or her uniquely human potential at its best, and thereby transform a personal tragedy into a triumph of human achievement.  As noted by Frankl: „When we are no longer able to change a situation – just think of an incurable disease such an inoperable cancer – we are challenged to change ourselves … suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning (p. 116).“

Mervin Smucker