Man’s Search for Meaning

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Man’s Search for Meaning

October 12, 2021
Will Yang
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Today I finished reading Viktor Frankle’s Man’s Search for Meaning book. It was fairly fast read compared to the last one (Principles by Ray Dalio). Frankle’s memoir was inspiring with some great messages. Below are some of the lines I enjoyed:

  • Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.
  • He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
  • 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. What man needs is not homeostasis but what I call “noo-dynamics,” i.e., the existential dynamics in a polar field of tension where one pole is represented by a meaning that is to be fulfilled and the other pole by the man who has to fulfill it.
  • 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 reasonable. Thus, logotherapy sees in responsibleness the very essence of human existence.
  • In some ways, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
  • What matters is to make the best of any given situation. “The best,” however, is that which in Latin is called optimum – hence the reason I speak of a tragic optimism, that is, an optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which at its best always for: 1) turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment; 2) deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better; and 3) deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action.
  • If you want anyone to laugh you have to provide him with a reason.
  • I know that without the suffering, the growth that I have achieved would have been impossible.
  • Live as if you were living for the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now.
  • For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.

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