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February 24, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Victor Frankl Quote on Free Will and Determinism

Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather he determines himself whether he give in to conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is self-determining. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment.

By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant. Therefore, we can predict his future only within the large framework of statistical survey referring to a whole group; the individual personality, however, remains unpredictable. The basis of any prediction would be represented by biological, psychological, or sociological conditions. Yet one of the main features of human existence is the capacity to rise above such conditions, to grow beyond them. Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary.

What he becomes–within the limits of endowment and environment–he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.

Victor Frankl, Professor in Neurology and Psychology
Using life experience, including living in 4 concentration camps as his evidence
Man’s Search for Meaning, p. 131 to 134

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