Words to Wander – Man’s Search for Meaning

Words to Wander is a collection of notable passages from some of my favorite books related to living life to the fullest.  I invite you to add your thoughts on this book in the comments section.  Enjoy

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Description:  Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist who was a prisoner in four different concentration camps during WWII.  He survived, but his parents, brother and pregnant wife did not. Man’s Search for Meaning is Frankl’s memoir chronicling his experiences at Auschwitz, and details the insights he gained watching how people responded differently to the horrible conditions they all experienced.  He came to believe that even in the most horrendous and painful circumstances, life can have purpose and meaning.  The book has sold more than 10,000,000 copies, and is considered to be among the ten most influential books in America.
Notable quotes from Man’s Search for Meaning:

“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.”

“It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future…. And this is his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to the task.”

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task.  What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”

“…man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.  That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure, that his suffering has a meaning.”

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”

 “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.”

“The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old?”

“No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”

“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

6 thoughts on “Words to Wander – Man’s Search for Meaning

  1. Read this book in college many moons ago and it made a big impression on me. So much so that I wrote a song with the same title. I later taught the book to my students and sang the song to them when we were done discussing it. Thanks for your post and for stopping by Poemattic. Look forward to reading more of your work.

    Liked by 1 person

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