Man’s Search for Meaning

By Victor Frankl –

P.11: “The central theme of existentialism: to live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.”

P.12: “He takes a surprisingly hopeful view of man’s capacity to transcend his predicament and discover an adequate guiding truth.”

P.16: “I wrote the book within nine successive days.” “I had wanted simply to convey to the reader by way of a concrete example that life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable ones… I therefore felt responsible for writing down what I had gone through, for I thought it might be helpful to people who are prone to despair.”

P.17: “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.”

“Experiences in a Concentration Camp”

P.21: “It is the inside story of a concentration camp, told by one of its survivors.”

P.22: “This was an unrelenting struggle… for life itself.”

P.26/27: “Once lost, the will to live seldom returned… (We were) ragged human figures, grey in the greyness of dawn, trekking along the straight desolate roads, to what destination we did not know.”

P.57: “The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

P.64: “The size of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

P.86: “The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.”

*P.86: “…everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

P.87: “…in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not the result of camp influences alone.”

P.87: “It is this spiritual freedom – which can not be taken away – that makes life meaningful and purposeful.”

P.94/95: “It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future… The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed.”

*P. 97: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

P.98: “We had to teach the despairing men that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us… Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way.”

P.101: “A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life.”

P.103: “And I quote from Nietzsche: ‘That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.’”

*P.104: “What you have experienced, no power on earth can take from you.”

Glenn Detrick