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Statue of Responsibility

The Statue of Responsibility is a proposed structure to be built on the West Coast of the United States. The prototype, sculpted by project artist Gary Lee Price, consists of a pair of clasped hands oriented vertically, symbolizing the responsibility that comes with liberty.

The original idea of a Statue of Responsibility was the vision of Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, a Holocaust survivor who went on to publish Man’s Search for Meaning[1] In this work published in 1946, Frankl stated that:

Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.[2]

The realization of this vision started when Frankl met Dr. Stephen R. Covey, educator, businessman, and bestselling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. They decided it was time to move past conversation.[3] Covey contacted world-renowned sculptor Gary Lee Price and asked him to sculpt the concept of the Statue of Responsibility. Gary, an award-winning sculptor and Fellow of the National Sculpture Society, envisioned a statue depicting a hand reaching up for help with another hand reaching down in a clasping position. The hands are symbolic of Responsibility: in different times of our lives we are the hand reaching up for help or the hand reaching down to lift others.

Covey loved the concept but wished to know whether it met the approval of Frankl. Unfortunately, Frankl had already died at this time (1997), but his widow, Dr. Eleonore (Elly) Frankl, was living in Vienna, Austria. In 2004, a select group of representatives of the Statue of Responsibility Foundation, including Gary, flew to Vienna to meet with Frankl's widow and seek approval. When Gary unveiled the sculpture that depicts the two hands clasped together, Elly could not contain her emotions. It was everything Frankl would have hoped, and more. She brought Gary and the others to Frankl's study to show them one of Viktor's most prized possessions. In a niche amidst his massive library stood a single sculpture, a bust Viktor called "The Suffering Man", which depicted a man reaching towards the heavens in obvious agony. Elly described how Frankl had found this sculpture just after leaving the death camps of World War II; he didn't have enough money to buy it at the time so he put it on layaway. She said that Viktor would often use this bust as a metaphor for responsibility, asking, "Where is the hand reaching down to help this man?" She then stated, indicating the sculpture presented to her by Gary, "You my American friend have brought me the answer to my husband's question."


The original Statue of Responsibility was proposed by California resident Thomas Antus in 2000. It is to be built over Alcatraz prison and incorporate the history of Alcatraz island. The interior of the monument will have exhibits depicting the evolution of mankind in areas such as art, music, literature, science, and human emotion. Total height 750'. More information is available at This proposed statue predates the Responsibility Foundations proposed statue

The project initially was managed by the "Statue of Responsibility Foundation". In 2013, the project was handed off to the Responsibility Foundation.[4]

The Responsibility Foundation is determining an appropriate location for the statue.[5]

The Foundation intends to incorporate elements that are indicative of the Statue of Liberty into the Statue of Responsibility:

  • Erected on an island or waterfront location;
  • Total height of 305 feet (93 m) above ground level;
  • Internal access to an observation deck on top of the monument;
  • Complete experience for visitors revolving around the theme of Responsibility.


  1. ^ Fein, Esther B. (1991-11-20). "Book Notes". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  2. ^ Frankl, Viktor Emil (1956) Man's Search for Meaning, p. 209-210.
  3. ^ Pattakos, Alex (2010-07-09). Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl's Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. ISBN 9781605099217.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Rodriguez, Ashlie. (26 August 2010). "300 foot tall statue in San Diego's future?". Sign On San Diego. Accessed 3 September 2011.

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