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things to ponder.

April 15, 2009

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.”

— Viktor Frankl

I heard this quote several times in my religious studies class. It was not until yesterday that I actually started to think about the meaning of what it is saying. The man who wrote/said this was a Holocaust surviver. Viktor Frankl before the Holocaust was a doctor of neurology and psychiatry. While he was in the concentration camp wrote a manuscript called The Doctor and the Soul, but that was destroyed when they found it. He did let this discourage him. It became he driving force and hope to be reunited with his family. Unfortunately, his family did not survive. He wrote another book called Man’s Search for Meaning. This man despite everything continued to live and continue to make his life have a meaning. 

When I heard that the quote above was a said/written by a Holocaust surviver it then somewhat made sense. But isn’t it so true. We continually complain in what we do not have, what has happened to us, we as a society tend to focus on the negative rather than the good that comes out of lives. But why? It does nothing, but bring us down more. The bad things happen in our lives for a reason and they shape who we are. The suffering we endure during our live can help us be stronger and better people, but that is not possible unless we understand the good that came from the suffering. When we survive or overcome the suffering, we learn from it. We are able to have this understanding for our life. It helps us gain fulfillment in our own lives. 

What do you think?

– Colette

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One comment

  1. Opposition, affliction, difficulty and pain do indeed give life meaning. Much like the gravity which we struggle against these things, through the painful contrasts they provide allow us to determin up from down, good from evil, pleasure from pain. We may not consider them gifts (and I cannot blame anyone who does not) but they are as important in the shaping of our lives as joy, peace and contentment, and they often allow us to appriciate those things all the more.

    I have meant to read Frankl’s book for some time, thanks for the reminder.



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