10 Most Meaningful Passages – Mans Search For Meaning

“Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud.”
Frankl, who survived the concentration camps, writes that suffering is inevitable and that avoiding suffering is futile. Rather, one should be worthy of one’s suffering and make meaning of it instead of surrendering to nihilism, bitterness and despair. He uses poetic, moving anecdotes from the concentration camps to illustrate those souls who find a deeper humanity from their suffering or who become animals relegated to nothing more than teeth-clenched self-preservation. Though not specifically religious, this masterpiece has a religious purpose–to help us find meaning. This book succeeds immeasurably.
…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.
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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.
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Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.
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Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.
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“Don’t aim at success-the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.
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“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”
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Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.
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When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.
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Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life. Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning: in work (doing something significant), in love (caring for another person), and in courage during difficult times. Suffering in and of itself is meaningless; we give our suffering meaning by the way in which we respond to it.
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Frankl approvingly quotes the words of Nietzsche: “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”

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14 responses to “10 Most Meaningful Passages – Mans Search For Meaning”

  1. Alex Jones says :

    The wisdom of people who went through hell is treasure.

    Otove, it feels like a long time since I last read your wise postings. Hope the Summer has been good to you.

    • otove says :

      Hi Alex, Cheers for your kind comment, bit slow on the blog front Im afraid, this rolling stone is gathering little moss, as they say. I haven’t seen to much of your work recently either, come to think, anyhow have a great day!


      • Alex Jones says :

        Ha ha, August is a busy month so I have been posting with gaps of a few days. This should change come September.

  2. jessicawritesnow says :

    I know you might expect me to comment on this post too. But I am that self-centered and full of expectations some of the time also. I read this book a long time ago. It began one happy period of my life during my twenties. I remember the second part of the book was the application, of Frankl’s method, through psychoanalysis. He was a renowned psychoanalyst also. His occupation before the war was the same but his philosophy changed due to the camps radically. I find that his theory holds water in most cases. I just thought that maybe you’re interested in watching an interview of Frankl. I love the guy. Thank you for the reminder. I suggest if you haven’t read the book, the present is a gift so it’s a perfect reason to gift yourself with this present.


  3. amoonfull says :

    This is beautiful. I will have to purchase that book!

  4. narhvalur says :

    My family were refugees and had to left everything, farm etc was burnt down. They don’t felt any bitterness just glad that they survived , and quite succesfully!

  5. moderndayruth says :

    It’s one of the books that impacted me the most… Amazing – and most meaningful out of all schools of psychiatry.

  6. quirkybooks says :

    Good passages and wise words. I too am astonished at what some people go through. I personally have lived though experiences that I think now, how ever did I get through that? But the body and brain has amazing ways of dealing with situations that I would not have thought possible.

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