STORIES
Philosophers

kieth lyman

by Blake from ventura


Viktor E. Frankel survived through the German concentration camps during the second world war. While he was in the camps, he used his knowledge of psychology to keep him happy and well feed. He knew the basic needs of individuals and would use his knowledge to get what he wanted. He also explored new ways of reaching a state of happiness. He would use the only thing he had available to him, his mind, to reach happiness. He survived the camps and later wrote about his theories and his experiences while in the camp. He would Explain why people would do the horrible things they did.

Mr. Frankel has never really been considered a hero by the public but has been because he has contributed to an important cause that he believes could help billions of people. Different societies would and would not consider him a hero at different points in time. The fellow individuals in the concentration camps

By helping millions of people reach the ultimate goal, happiness. Helping people achieve this goal is one of the biggest accomplishments a person can accomplish.. The two most dominate values I see represented in Frankel is strength and determination. Strength because that was probably the most important value a person could have in the concentration camps and determination because that is the most important value that he needed while writing his book. What impressed me the most was what interested him and what he was trying to accomplish for others and himself. It just made sense logically for someone to finally try to accomplish the goal he set out to accomplish.

The start of this novel is the story of his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. It maps out his journey, and all of the horrors and injustices done. What is unique about the prose in this book is that, if you were to picture Dr. Frankl writing his book, you may envision him being quite emotional and striving to bring all of the wrong that was done into the light for all to see. However, the truth is closer to an old man sitting in a rocking chair, with his hands lightly clasped, wise as ever. He tells the events with the horrid details exempt from this. Instead of telling how badly one was beaten, and the gory contents, he focused purposely on the psychological effects. The brutality comes from the sheer simplicity of what he says. It seems to have almost desensitised the fashion in which he describes the torture. The point Dr. Frankly attempts (quite successfully) to convey is that under such harsh circumstances, through the most torturous of scenarios, man is capable of survival. Throughout the novel, Dr. Frankl discusses scenarios in which fellow prisoners were beaten down physically and emotionally to no avail, and subsequently were able to survive through clinging onto one remaining thing: that they had found meaning in their lives. Others who would give up and die, like a flower withers in the winter, could not find this meaning. The point stressed throughout is that without finding any meaning to their lives, the prisoners would almost inevitably die. This, however, as important as it is, was not the only point stressed. He also discusses HOW to find meaning in ones life. How, in the suffering, the daily torturous conditions, the beatings, the injustice, the humiliation, the carnage, the exhaustion, how could one POSSIBLY find any meaning whatsoever?


What, could one cling onto for dear life, to pull them through, to have the weak man quivering, dirty and cold and hungry in the bottom of an evil hateful pit, to look up into the light and survive? This was called finding meaning through suffering. His personal answer was LOVE and to help others find meaning. He found something to live for, and quite evidently, he did find this. One may notice through the book how he is not carried away by speaking of injustices and torture, but how he stays predominantly analytical in terms of relative meaning. In every instance he found something quite relevant to finding this meaning, or a lack thereof. It helped his own survival. Another topic discussed in this book was behaviour of prisoners and guards in concentration camps. After the first period in camps, exposed to the horrible gas chambers, the cruel labour, the lack of food, or anything worthy of hope, how the standards of living dropped, but how the behaviour was affected also. At the sight of brutality, one became unaffected. Desensitisation set in. It is a powerful message, one that perhaps through

Page created on 2/4/2003 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 2/4/2003 12:00:00 AM

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This page was done on viktor frankel. there was an error in the production of the page and some names were switched. the title should read viktor frankel instead of keith lyman.