Below are my personal notes of Man’s Search for Meaning. These highlights were what I used to write my personal development book, Wiser Next Week, a condensation of many different self improvement books.
Experiences in a Concentration Camp
- Yes a man can get used to anything, but do not ask us how.
- It is not the physical pain which hurts most, for adults and children, it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all
- The salvation of man is through love and in love
- 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.
- This suffering 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
- Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way
- The sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influence alone.
- Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate
- A man who could not see the end of his “provisional existence” was not able to aim at the ultimate goal in life. He ceased living for the future
- A man who let himself decline because he could not see any future goal found himself occupied with retrospective thoughts
- It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future
- Most men in concentration camps think that the real opportunities of life had passed. Yet in reality, there was an opportunity and a challenge
- Those who know how close the connection is between the state of mind of a man, his courage and hope, or lack of them, and the state of immunity of his body will understand that the sudden loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect.
- He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how
- It doesn’t really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life, daily and hourly.
- Our answer must consist in right action and in right conduct
- Life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, each answer influences the next task
- All we have done, whatever great thoughts we may have had, and all we have suffered, all this is not lost, though it is past, we have brought it into being.
And be sure to check out my book, Wiser Next Week.
All Previous Entries: