30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 7: From Self-Transcendence to Self-Fulfillment

Viktor Frankl Lecturing

Lesson for the Day: Being for others; doing for others; going out of oneself to others; unselfish service for others: Dr. Frankl calls that “self-transcendence.” It gives meaning to life, fulfilling a person.

“Being human is being always directed, and pointing, to something or someone other than oneself: to a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter, a cause to serve or a person to love. 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.”

Source: Viktor E. Frankl, The Unheard Cry for Meaning: Psychotherapy and Humanism, rev. ed. (New York, N.Y.: Washington Square Press, 1978, Washington Square Press ed. 1985), p. 38.

30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 4: Suicide Prevention


Lesson for the Day: Caring, especially taking time away from one’s busy schedule to listen to another person, is a form of suicide prevention.

“Recently I received a telephone call at three in the morning from a lady who told me that she was determined to commit suicide but due to her curiosity wished to hear what I should say. I evolved all the arguments speaking against this resolution and for survival, and I talked to her for thirty minutes — until she finally gave her word that she would not take her life but rather would come to see me in the hospital. But when she visited me there it turned out that no one of all the arguments presented by me had impressed her. The only reason why she had decided not to commit suicide was the fact that, rather than growing angry because of having been disturbed in my sleep in the middle of the night, I had patiently listened to her and talked with her for half an hour, and a world, she found, in which this can happen, must be a world worth living in.”

Source:  Viktor E. Frankl, The Feeling of Meaninglessness: A Challenge to Psychotherapy and Philosophy, ed. Alexander Batthyany, in Marquette Studies in Philosophy, No. 60, ed. Andrew Tallon (Malwaukee, WI.: Marquette University Press, 2010), p. 124.

30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 2: The “Why” and “How” of Living

Viktor Frankl, M.D.

Lesson for the Day: No matter how bad life gets, there is always a reason to live.

“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being  …, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life [that is, commit suicide].  He knows the ‘why’ for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any ‘how.’”

Source: Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, 3rd ed. (New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1984), p. 87.