Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning

First of all, Man’s Search for Meaning is amazing.  A must-read in my opinion.  Viktor Frankl’s book is a book about survival.  Frankl was in the concentration camps and survived, but his book is less about what he went through and more about survival and the sources of strength.  Life is a quest for meaning.  Here are some amazing quotes I’ve come across so far:

” (on suffering)…we give our suffering meaning by the way we respond to it.”

“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 can’t control what happens to you, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.”


“…tears bare witness that you had/have the greatest courage, the COURAGE TO SUFFER.”

I’m coming up on the part about Logotherapy (curing the soul by leading it to find meaning in life).  He proves this theory over and over in his account/experience in Auschwitz.  He says he wanted to publish it anonymously because he did not want to be a self-promoting survivor story (something like that)–he didn’t want the attention, but was convinced (and rightly so) to put his name on the book (he originally was going to use his number given him at the concentration camps).  He didn’t know his book would sell over three million copies.

His selfless descriptions of the suffering endured is breath-taking, I’ve never seen anything like it.  Makes me want to change my tune.  It’s ultimately a religious book in a way, as it states as well in the intro, and his conclusion exemplifies that:

“We have come to know Man as he really is.  After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”

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