(1 year ago)
19 Sep, 2022
This book has been recommended to me so many times, quoted as being life-changing by many, and I finally got around to reading it. It makes me think of a thing we animal rights’ activists call the “100 conversations”: people need to be exposed to something 100 times before we are finally convinced to try it (number totally made up). Well, it seems like I’ve gotten 100 recommendations for this book, so it was time.
I think I was not actually the target audience for it. The book is primarily about finding meaning in life. That is, in our own personal life, not “life” as a concept nor the importance of the lives of others. I have never had any particular problems with finding meaning in my own life, even when I was suicidal. I think perhaps I would’ve taken more from it had it focused on the other “meaning of life” (the value of a life other than our own). But, I don’t judge a book based on whether it was what I expected or whether I’m “the target audience”, neither are a necessity for quality.
Overall, I really enjoyed the first half of the book documenting the author’s experiences in the camp. I keep a journal where I write about my own experiences with trauma, the different thoughts I have at different stages and how it affects my moral values. It was interesting to see the stages I have been through coincide with what the author explains in this section. Of course, he manages to explain these things in a much better way than I ever could in my glorified diary, and as always it’s comforting to see things we relate to but haven’t heard expressed elsewhere.
During the second half of the book I felt like the conclusions he reached were his own opinions, more of a mindset, but they aren’t necessarily truths of life. Someone else could have a different mindset and opinions and they would still be equally valid. Of course, everyone has different opinions and there were many interesting quotes and ideas, but I did feel like some of the things he said contradicted other parts in his book, especially in the couple sections where he criticised opposing opinions there seemed to be a bit of dissonance with things he had mentioned previously.