The experiences of camp life show that a man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress. We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away 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 way. 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 in the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to life.
Topics: Freedom, Action, Stress, Nature, Live, Purpose, Attitude, Perception, Giving, Life, Experience, Fate, Choice, Suffering, Decisions, Opportunity
But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.
For SUCCESS, like HAPPINESS, cannot be pursued,
it is the unintended side effect of one’s personal
dedication to a course greater than oneself.
Only to the extent that someone is living out this self transcendence of human existence, is he truly human or does he become his true self. He becomes so, not by concerning himself with his self’s actualization, but by forgetting himself and giving himself, overlooking himself and focusing outward.
Topics: Life, Living
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
The existential vacuum manifests itself mainly in a state of boredom.
In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can be fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. 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 what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.
Again and again I therefore admonish my students in Europe and 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 personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. 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 about it.
Topics: Knowledge, God, Happiness, Goals, Success
What is to give light must endure the burning.
What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.
Topics: Vision, Purpose
A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how”.
Topics: Vision, Purpose, Life
For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.
The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedom is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances.
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