This quote is from Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s search for Meaning”. The book is an account of his time as a prisoner at Auschwitz where Frankl was a survivor. During his time in Auschwitz Frankl claimed that it was his ability to love others that gave his life meaning and that love can survive even in the most intolerable of human conditions.
Here is the whole paragraph from which the quote is taken:
“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth–that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way–an honorable way–in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life, I was able to understand the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”
Frankl claimed that love of others was the ultimate and highest goal to which a person could aspire and that much forms of depression and anxiety in life were a result of a loss of love in one’s life.