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Viktor E. Frankl Quotes (78 Quotes)


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  • What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaninglessness in rational terms.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

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

  • Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • Ironically enough, in the same way that fear brings to pass what one is afraid of, likewise a forced intention makes impossible what one forcibly wishes... Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • A man's concern, even his despair, over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress but by no means a mental disease.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")


  • It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • An active life serves the purpose of giving man the opportunity to realize values in creative work, while a passive life of enjoyment affords him the opportunity to obtain fulfillment in experiencing beauty, art, or nature.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • Long ago we had passed the stage of asking what was the meaning of life, a naïve query which understands life as the attaining of some aim through the active creation of something of value.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • And I quoted from Nietzsche: That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • As a professor in two fields, neurology and psychiatry, I am fully aware of the extent to which man is subject to biological, psychological and sociological conditions. But in addition to being a professor in two fields I am a survivor of four camps - concentration camps, that is - and as such I also bear witness to the unexpected extent to which man is capable of defying and braving even the worst conditions conceivable.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")

  • As for the concept of collective guilt, I personally think that it is totally unjustified to hold one person responsible for the behavior of another person or a collective of persons.
    (Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning")


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