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165 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1959
“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”
"But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer."
“I do not forget any good deed done to me & I do not carry a grudge for a bad one.”
There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is meaning in one's life. There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."The first half of the book is completely absorbing, fascinating reading. When I tried to read the second, more academic part of it years ago, I floundered (I don't think I ever got through to the end). But I stuck with it this time and found it truly rewarding.
I never tire of saying that the only really transitory aspects of life are the potentialities; but as soon as they are actualized, they are rendered realities at that very moment; they are saved and delivered into the past, wherein they are rescued and preserved from transitoriness. For, in the past, nothing is irretrievably lost but everything is irrevocably stored.I had to read that one two or three times before I felt like I really grasped what Frankl was saying. And this one:
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!I assume it's to help give us motivation to avoid making a wrong choice, by thinking through the likely consequences of what we are about to do. But there are so many nuggets of wisdom in this short volume. A few things that really impacted me:
We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.Inspiring words; inspiring life.
One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated.
It is one of the basic tenets of logotherapy that man's main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. ... In accepting this challenge to suffer bravely, life has a meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally to the end.
Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.
„Mă scîrbisem de starea aceea de lucruri care mă constrîngea, zi de zi şi ceas de ceas, să mă gîndesc doar la astfel de lucruri mărunte. Mi-am silit gîndurile să treacă la un alt subiect. Brusc, m-am văzut stînd în picioare într-o sală de conferințe bine luminată, caldă şi plăcută. În faţa mea, un public atent şedea pe nişte scaune tapiţate, confortabile. Ţineam o prelegere despre psihologia lagărelor de concentrare” (p.86).
„Noi, cei care am trăit în lagărele de concentrare, ne amintim de aceia care treceau din baracă în baracă, mîngîindu-i pe ceilalţi, dăruindu-le ultima lor îmbucătură de pîine. Vor fi fost puţini la număr, dar ei ne dau îndeajuns de multe dovezi că omului i se poate lua totul, mai puţin un lucru: ultima dintre libertăţile umane - respectiv aceea de a-și alege propria atitudine într-un anumit set de împrejurări date, de a-și alege propriul mod de a fi... La o ultimă analiză, ne devine limpede că genul de persoană care ajungea să devină deţinutul era rezultatul unei decizii lăuntrice, nu doar rezultatul influenţelor lagărului asupra sa” (p.79).