I can say without equivocation Man’s Search for Meaning is the most important book I’ve ever read.
That’s a bold statement, I know. But Viktor Frankl’s book cuts to the heart of existential depression. Is there a meaning to life? Is there a purpose to our existence? Why do we suffer?
Any summary I could write would pale in the impact of reading the book for yourself. So I’ll just leave you with my favorite quotes from Frankl’s work and sincerely hope that you read this book for yourself.
“He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.” – Nietzche
“The salvation of man is through love and in love.” – Frankl
“‘There is only one thing that I dread; not to be worthy of my sufferings.’ These words frequently came to my mind after I became aquainted with those martyrs whose behavior in camp, whose suffering and death, bore witness to the fact that the last inner freedom cannot be lost. It can be said that they were worthy of their sufferings; the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement. It is this spiritual freedom-which cannot be taken away-that makes life meaningful and purposeful.” – Frankl
“Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.” – Frankl
“It does not matter what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.” – Frankl
“As each situation in life represents a challenge to man and presents a problem for him to solve, the question of the meaning of life may actually be reversed. Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible. Thus, logotherapy sees in responsibleness the very essence of human existence.” – Frankl