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Unformatted text preview: VIKTOR FRANKL SELECTIONS FROM VIKTOR FRANKL’S BOOK MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING Viktor Frankl was born in Vienna March 26, 1905 and died September 2, 1997. He graduated from the University of Vienna with TWO doctorates, one in medicine and the other in philosophy. He studied under Freud, but his ideas and methods took a radical turn from Freudian psychology. When Hitler invaded and annexed Austria, Frankl found himself a victim of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. His parents and brother were murdered. His wife who was nine months pregnant, was beat so badly by the Nazis that she loss their child, she would later die in the concentration camp. When he was arrested and taken to Auschwitz, his life work, his scientific masterpiece his PhD thesis was taken from him and destroyed in front of him. Frankl survived the camps and wrote his pivotal and most widely known work MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING. What is so important a difference from Freud and Frankl is that as Freud sees human existence as “the will to pleasure and power”, Frankl, after his survival of the camps, sees human existence as “the will to meaning”. Our purpose in reading these selections is to familiarize you with a very important book in the history of western man. Also be aware that these reflections are developed out of great personal suffering. C.S. Lewis said: “God shouts to us in pain and whispers to us in pleasure”. Be prepared to reflect how these selections point to the nature of man and his true identity. The selections: In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in the concentration camp, it was possible for the spiritual life to deepen. Sensitive people who were used to a rich intellectual life may have suffered much pain (they were often of a delicate constitution), but the damage to their inner selves was less. They were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom. Only in this way can one explain the apparent paradox that some prisoners of a less hardy make-up often seemed to survive camp life better than did those of a robust nature… There were shouted commands: FORWARD MARCH!! These words sound in my ears even now. At the order “Caps off!!” we passed the gate of the camp and searchlights were trained on us. Whoever did not march smartly got a kick. And worse off was the man who, because of the cold, had pulled his cap back over his ears before permission was given. We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor’s arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk… Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung tomorning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds....
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- Spring '10
- English, Meaning of life, Auschwitz concentration camp, Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, Logotherapy