The first section is about Frankl’s experiences while in captivity at Auschwitz during WWII. Through his experiences, he highlights how those who had a higher reason for being seemed to survive better and longer than those who did not, or those who lost hope at some point.
“The crowning experience of all, for the homecoming man, is the wonderful feeling that, after all he has suffered, there is nothing he need fear any more, except his God.”
The second section of the book deals with his invented school of psychology, logotherapy. It is the idea that a great way to both live and rehabilitate is to find higher meaning.
“As each situation in life represents a challenge to man and presents a problem for him to solve, the question of the meaning of life may actually be reversed. Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible. Thus, logotherapy sees in responsibleness the very essence of human existence.”
The third section is a new postscript that Frankl wrote years after publishing the book.
“Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. What was needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life- hourly and daily. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”