I am reading “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl, got it from the local library for FREE.
I’m not going to go into depth about the book other than to say that the author survived the Nazi concentration camps, Dr Frankl has written a fearless account of what life was like for the prisoners of Auschwitz, he tells of “the incredible attempts to dehumanize man at the concentration camps”. It is a gut wrenching read. There are some passages that I want to remember so I am going to post them here:
“I became disgusted with the state of affairs which compelled me, daily, and hourly, to think of only such trivial things. I forced my thoughts to turn to another subject.
Suddenly I saw myself standing on the platform of a well-lit, warm and pleasant lecture room. In front of me sat an attentive audience on comfortable upholstered seats. I was giving a lecture on the psychology of the concentration camp! All that oppressed me at that moment became objective, seen and described from the remote viewpoint of science. By this method I succeeded somehow in rising above the situation, above the sufferings of the moment, and I observed them as if they were already of the past. Both I and my troubles became the object of an interesting psychoscientific study undertaken by myself. What does Spinoza say in his Ethics? — ‘Affectus, qui passio est, desinit esse passio simulatque eius claram et distinctam formamus ideam’. Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.”
This is the therapy based on Dr Frankl’s work after surviving the camp.
I can barely finish this post. I began writing this and the enormity of what this author had experienced hit me hard. I can not compare what an alcoholic like me has been through with a survivor from a Nazi concentration camp, that is not what I am trying to do. I suppose what strikes me hard about what Dr Frankl writes is man’s enormous capacity to struggle yet survive.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms- to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
“The way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement”