Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl


“Unlike an animal, man is no longer told by drives and instincts what he must do. And in contrast to man in former times, he is no longer told by traditions and values what he should do. Now, knowing neither what he must do nor what he should do, he sometimes does not even know what he basically wishes to do. Instead, he wishes to do what other people do…or he does what other people wish him to do.”

“Bitter truth. For too long we have been dreaming a dream from which we are now waking up: the dream that if we just improve the socioeconomic situation of people, everything will be okay, people will be happy. The truth is that as the struggle from survival has subsided, the question has emerged survival for what? Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”

Is this the kind of existential vacuum us twenty-first centurions have inherited from the malaise of the twentieth century? This describes the aloofness with which so many–20-something, middle class–approach their lives. Walker Percy wrote, Americans are like billiards balls ricocheting across the country from place to place. Movement for the sake of movement as if without moving the inertia would fail to transfer into potential.

Don’t despair at wanting to become your authentic self. It’s a battle. You gotta fight for meaning, fight against the relativistic opprobrium.


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