Viktor Frankl


Inspirational Quotes by VIktor E Frankl about Life, Meaning and Psychology

Photo by: Prof. Dr. Franz Vesely

Viktor Frankl Quotes about Death


“He describes poignantly those prisoners who gave up on life, who had lost all hope for a future and were inevitably the first to die. They died less from lack of food or medicine than from lack of hope, lack of something to live for. But Frankl’s concern is less with the question of why most died than it is with the question of why anyone at all survived.”

– Harold Kushner about Victor Frankl’s Book Man’s Search for Meaning

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Viktor Frankl Quotes about Freedom



“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.”
“The man, whose self-esteem had always depended on the respect of others, is emotionally destroyed. Frankl would have argued that we are never left with nothing as long as we retain the freedom to choose how we will respond.”

– Harold Kushner about Victor Frankl’s Book Man’s Search for Meaning


 

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”

– Viktor E. Frankl



“My own congregational experience has shown me the truth of Frankl’s insights. I have known successful businessmen who, upon retirement, lost all zest for life. Their work had given their lives meaning. Often it was the only thing that had given their lives meaning and, without it, they spent day after day sitting at home, depressed, “with nothing to do.” I have known people who rose to the challenge of enduring the most terrible afflictions and situations as long as they believed there was a point to their suffering.”

– Harold Kushner about Victor Frankl’s Book Man’s Search for Meaning

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Viktor E. Frankl Quotes about Happiness


“Again and again I therefore admonish my students both in Europe and in America: “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.”

– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run—in the long run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.”

– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation. 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

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Viktor E. Frankl Quotes about Life & Meaning (Logo-Therapy)


“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”

– Viktor E. Frankl


“I had wanted simply to convey to the reader by way of a concrete example that life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable ones.”

– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life.”

– Viktor E. Frankl


“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”

– Viktor Frankl


“Terrible as it was, his experience in Auschwitz reinforced what was already one of his key ideas: Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning.”

– Harold Kushner about Victor Frankl’s Book Man’s Search for Meaning


“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.”

– Viktor Frankl


“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked.”

– Viktor E. Frankl


“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.”

– Viktor E. Frankl


“For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”

– Viktor E. Frankl

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Viktor E. Frankl Quotes about Love


“The truth—that love is the ultimate and the 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. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way —an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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Viktor E. Frankl Quotes about Prisoners & Capos


“While these ordinary prisoners had little or nothing to eat, the Capos were never hungry; in fact many of the Capos fared better in the camp than they had in their entire lives. Often they were harder on the prisoners than were the guards, and beat them more cruelly than the SS men did.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“These Capos, of course, were chosen only from those prisoners whose characters promised to make them suitable for such procedures, and if they did not comply with what was expected of them, they were immediately demoted. They soon became much like the SS men and the camp wardens and may be judged on a similar psychological basis.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“On the average, only those prisoners could keep alive who, after years of trekking from camp to camp, had lost all scruples in their fight for existence; they were prepared to use every means, honest and otherwise, even brutal force, theft, and betrayal of their friends, in order to save themselves. We who have come back, by the aid of many lucky chances or miracles—whatever one may choose to call them—we know: the best of us did not return.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“There was another group of prisoners who got liquor supplied in almost unlimited quantities by the SS: these were the men who were employed in the gas chambers and crematoriums, and who knew very well that one day they would be relieved by a new shift of men, and that they would have to leave their enforced role of executioner and become victims themselves.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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Viktor E. Frankl Quotes about Psychology & Pain

Inspirational Quotes by Viktor Frankl from his book Man's Search for Meaning

Photo by: H.-P.Haack

“In psychiatry there is a certain condition known as “delusion of reprieve.” The condemned man, immediately before his execution, gets the illusion that he might be reprieved at the very last minute.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“When my life was once endangered by a climbing accident, I felt only one sensation at the critical moment: curiosity, curiosity as to whether I should come out of it alive or with a fractured skull or some other injuries.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“If someone now asked of us the truth of Dostoevski’s statement that flatly defines man as a being who can get used to anything, we would reply, “Yes, a man can get used to anything, but do not ask us how.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“I think it was Lessing who once said, “There are things which must cause you to lose your reason or you have none to lose.” An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“At such a moment it is not the physical pain which hurts the most (and this applies to adults as much as to punished children); it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“Strangely enough, a blow which does not even find its mark can, under certain circumstances, hurt more than one that finds its mark.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“Apathy, the main symptom of the second phase, was a necessary mechanism of self-defense. Reality dimmed, and all efforts and all emotions were centered on one task: preserving one’s own life and that of the other fellow. It was typical to hear the prisoners, while they were being herded back to camp from their work sites in the evening, sigh with relief and say, “Well, another day is over.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen. Sensitive people who were used to a rich intellectual life may have suffered much pain (they were often of a delicate constitution), but the damage to their inner selves was less. They were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom. Only in this way can one explain the apparent paradox that some prisoners of a less hardy make-up often seemed to survive camp life better than did those of a robust nature.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning



“To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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