One of my favourite excerpts is the author’s reflections on the meaning of death.
Just as a reminder, the whole book is dedicated to the meaning of life. In this regard, V. Frankl argues that nothing can make life meaningless, even death.
Below is the Russian translation of the author’s quote.
Can the time limits of human life, that is the fact that man is mortal, make life meaningless?
How often we hear arguments that death makes life completely useless after all. That eventually all man’s creations are useless as long as they are destroyed by death. So does death really take away the sense of meaning from our life?
On the contrary!
For what would our life be if it were eternal? If we were immortal, we could easily postpone our every action for as long as we wanted. And it wouldn’t matter if we take the action now or not, as it can be equally done tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or in a year, or in ten years.
In contrast, in the teeth of death – as our absolute and inevitable end in future, and as the limit of our capabilities – we ought to use the time available to us as effective as possible. We have no right to miss a single opportunity, the sum of which makes our life really full of meaning.
Thus it is not necessary to draw a distinction between life and death, for death is rather an integral part of life.
The passage above echoes with Carlos Castaneda’s “death as the only advisor that we have.”
Indeed, death itself is not scary.
What is really intimidating is facing your death empty-handed.
Other posts on Viktor Frank’s Man’s Search for Meaning: