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Book Review: "Say Yes To Life" by Viktor Frankl

"Even more powerful than fate is the courage that bears it steadfastly."

This book was so timely for me. At a time of great suffering, it was time for me to sit at the feet of someone who could teach me. I was thirsty to learn.

Viktor suffered beyond our American bubble in the concentration camps. He shares some core priceless gems in this tiny book. The book is a compilation of lectures spoken by Viktor.

The main point of the book is how do we as humans keep going when the desire to keep going to gone.

The following are quotes from the book that touched me deeply:

"So, in the end, was there something like a decision that needed to be made? It does not surprise us, because "existence" to the nakedness and rawness of which the human being was returned-is nothing other than a decision."

The idea of being a role model is vastly more important than a lot of talk and a lot of doing.

"Even more powerful than fate is the courage that bears it steadfastly."

"Certainly, those exemplary people who can and ought to be effective simply by being, are in the minority."

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy.

I awoke and saw that life was duty.

I worked-and behold,

duty was joy." - Tagore

"What does life expect of me? What task in life is waiting for me? What is waiting for me?"

The following quote Viktor said after telling the story of a black slave, in shackles, on a ship that was the fate of the rest of his life. On the way to its destination, the ship was destroyed and this black slave saved ten people's lives. Because of this brave deed, he was set free. Earlier that same day his future was doomed. It all changed in a moment.

"What could possibly be waiting for him? But none of us knows what is waiting for us, what big moment, what unique opportunity for acting in an exceptional way, just like the rescue of ten people by that black man aboard leviathan."

"Whether a life is fulfilled doesn't depend on how great one's range of action is, but rather only on whether the circle is filled out."

"Loving dedication to the beautiful, the great, and the good."

"We give life meaning not only through our actions, but also through loving, and finally through suffering."

"There is no predicament which cannot be enabled either by an achievement or by endurance." -Goethe

"Either we change our fate, if possible, or we willingly accept it, if necessary."

"The suffering of an authentic fate is an achievement. In some cases, endurance itself is the greatest achievement."

"What remains of my life and outlasts me is what I have achieved during my existence that continues to have an effect, transcending us and extending beyond us."

"When did this person allow himself to fall spiritually? And our answer must be, once he has lost his inner hold-as soon as he no longer had an inner hold! Such hold could exist in two forms: either it was a hold on the future or a hold on eternity."

"In spite of everything, no human suffering can be compared to anyone else's because it is part of the nature of suffering that is the suffering of a particular person, that it is his or her own suffering-that its "magnitude" is dependent solely on the sufferer, that is on the person; a person's solitary suffering is just as unique and individual as is every person."

"So we could not perceive our survival as anything other than undeserved mercy......shaking up and keeping alert the consciences of others as well as our own."

"he who was literally nothing feels literally born again, but not as the person he was, but as the essence of himself."

"People can still-despite hardship and death (first part), despite suffering from physical or mental illness (second part) or under the fate of the concentration camp (third part) say yes to life in spite of everything."

"Only when a new morality replaces our new objectivity, only when the value of every human life is once again recognized as unique and incomparable, only then will mankind have the necessary hold to overcome spiritual crisis."

Viktor, thank you for using your voice and gifts to help us with the current times. Thank you for your view of the value of each human life. You have deeply impacted me.

What has been most life changing for me is the perspective that suffering gives our lives meaning.


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