The Quotable Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

I remember two cases of would-be suicide, which bore a striking similarity to each other. Both men had talked of their intentions to commit suicide. Both used the typical argument – they had nothing more to expect from life. In both cases it was a question of getting them to realize that life was still expecting something from them; something in the future was expected of them. We found, in fact, that for one it was his child whom he adored and who was waiting for him in a foreign country. For the other, it was a thing, not a person. This man was a scientist and had written a series of books which still needed to be finished. His work could not be done by anyone else, any more than a person could ever take the place of the father in his child’s affections.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

This existential vacuum manifests itself mainly in a state of boredom. Now we can understand Schopenhauer when he said that mankind was apparently doomed to vacillate eternally between the two extremes of distress and boredom. In actual fact, boredom is now causing, and certainly bringing to psychiatrists, more problems to solve than distress. And these problems are growing increasingly crucial, for progressive automation will probably lead to an enormous increase in the leisure hours for the average worker. The pity of it is many of these will not know what to do with all their newly acquired free time.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

It is one of the basic tenets oflogotherapy that man’s main concern is notto gain pleasure or to avoid pain but ratherto see a meaning in his life. That is why manis even ready to suffer, on the condition, to besure, that his suffering has a meaning.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

 

Most important, however, is the third avenue to meaning in life: even the helpless victim of a hopeless situation, facing a fate he cannot change, may rise above himself, may grow beyond himself, and by so doing change himself. He may turn a personal tragedy into a triumph. Again it was Edith Weisskopf-Joelson who, as mentioned on p. 118, once expressed the hope that logotherapy “may help counteract certain unhealthy trends in the present-day culture of the United States, where the incurable sufferer is given very little opportunity to be proud of his suffering and to con­sider it ennobling rather than degrading” so that “he is not only unhappy, but also ashamed of being unhappy.”
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

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