30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 8: Ascribing Dignity to Every Human Being

viktor-frankl
Viktor Frankl

Lesson for the Day: Dignity (respect) is to be ascribed to all human beings, even those who, through committing evil acts, don’t deserve it.

“‘What is man that you are mindful of him?’ ‘He is a reed,’ said Pascal, ‘but a reed which thinks!’ And it is in this thinking, this consciousness, this responsibility that constitute the dignity of man, the dignity of each individual human being. And it is always to be ascribed to the individual person whether he preserves this dignity or tarnishes it. Whereas the first behavior is personal merit, the second constitutes personal guilt.”

Source: Viktor E. Frankl, Psychotherapy and Existentialism: Selected Papers on Logotherapy (New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1967), pp. 110-111.