I know some people who probably would not survive more than a day without their iPhone let alone having everything in their life that could possibly be taken ripped away.
Frankl lived through the horrors of the Holocaust, a prisoner in Auschwitz and Dachau. The loss of his family clarified for him that his purpose in this world was simply to help others find their own purpose in life.
The meaning of life according to Frankl lies in finding a purpose and taking responsibility for ourselves and other Human beings. Only by feeling free and sure of the objective that motivates us will we be able to make the World a better place.
Humans do not have an obligation to define the meaning of life in universal terms. Each of us will do it our way, starting with ourselves, with our potential and experiences, discovering ourselves every day.
Moreover, the meaning of life may not only differ from one person to another, but we ourselves may have a different life purpose at each stage of life. The important thing is for each goal to give us satisfaction and encouragement to get up in the morning and fight for what we want.
The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.
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.
Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very Self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.
If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death Human life cannot be complete.
The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances – to add a deeper meaning to his life.
It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him.
And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not. Such men are not only in concentration camps. Everywhere man is confronted with fate, with the chance of achieving something through his own suffering.
We often view suffering as something to be ashamed of or as proof that we are weak-minded, when in fact suffering is unavoidable and should give us a sense of pride and dignity in our ability to summon strength and bravery in the face of life’s proverbial shit-storms.
Every day, we are faced with a decision: a decision to either bemoan the circumstances of our lives and allow them to slowly crush us, or to exercise our ability to calmly accept what can not be changed, to remain mentally free and upright.
By his Love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized.
Furthermore, by his Love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.