30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 15: Decisions, Not Conditions, Determine Character

Viktor Frankl

Lesson for the Day:

General Principle Of course, human beings are conditioned or influenced by certain internal and external factors. But they can never condition humans to the point of being determined, that is, no longer being free to make choices about their lives.

Personal Application – Because you have the inner faculty of free-will, you are a choosing being. And in that freedom, you may choose to remain the same, which could be boring; sink below yourself, which is degrading; and rise above yourself, which is ennobling.

“[T]he freedom of a finite being such as man is a freedom within limits. Man is not free from conditions, be they biological or psychological or sociological in nature. But he is, and always remains, free to take a stand toward these conditions; he always retains the freedom to choose his attitude toward them. Man is free to rise above the plane of the somatic [bodily] and psychic [mind] determinants of his existence.”

Source: Viktor E. Frankl, Psychotherapy and Existentialism: Selected Papers on Logotherapy (New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1967), p. 3.