Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning

By Viktor E. Frankl, Swanee Hunt

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Viktor Frankl is known to millions of readers as a psychotherapist who has transcended his field in his search for answers to the ultimate questions of life, death, and suffering. Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning explores the sometime unconscious human desire for inspiration or revelation, and illustrates how life can offer profound meaning at every turn. Viktor Frankl is known to millions of readers as a...

Book details

August 11th 2000 by Basic Books

(first published 1974)

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Quotes From "Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning"

"Man is originally characterized by his "search for meaning" rather than his "search for himself." The more he forgets himself—giving himself to a cause or another person—the more human he is. And the more he is immersed and absorbed in something or someone other than himself the more he really becomes himself."
"A thought transfixed me: 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 the highest goal to which a 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 human 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 the brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a 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."
"Just consider a child who, absorbed in play, forgets himself—this is the moment to take a snapshot; when you wait until he notices that you are taking a picture, his face congeals and freezes, showing his unnatural self-consciousness rather than his natural graciousness. Why do most people have that stereotyped expression on their faces whenever they are photographed? This expression stems from their concern with the impression they are going to leave on the onlooker. It is "cheese" that makes them so ugly. Forgetting themselves, the photographer, and the future onlooker would make them beautiful."
"In his creative work the artist is dependent on sources and resources deriving from the spiritual unconscious."
"As long as a self is driven by an id to a Thou, it is not a matter of love, either. In love the self is not driven by the id, but rather the self chooses the Thou."
"God is the partner of our most intimate soliloquies. That is to say, whenever you are talking to yourself in utmost sincerity and ultimate solitude--he to whom you are addressing yourself may justifiably be called God."
"Стурбованість людини, навіть відчай, що викликані нікчемністю життя - це духовне страждання, але в жодному разі не душевна хвороба."
"El hombre no está absolutamente condicionado y determinado, al contrario, es él quien decide si cede ante determinadas circunstancias o si resiste frente a ellas… El hombre no se limita a existir, sino decide cómo será su existencia, en qué se convertirá en el minuto siguiente."

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