Sunday, January 06, 2013

Man's Search for Meaning.

A prisoner can be reminiscent of what 
Viktor Frank writes in his book, 
'Man's Search for Meaning'
about his fellow prisoners in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. 

Some of these prisoners, who yearned so desperately for their freedom,
had been held captive so long that,when they were eventually released, 
they walked out into the sunlight, blinked nervously and then 
silently walked back into the familiar darkness of the prisons 
to which they had been accustomed for such a long time.

"More than 90 percent 
of all the prisoners 
in our  prisons 
have been abused 
as children."
John Powell

Frankl's concentration camp experiences thus shaped both his therapeutic approach and philosophical outlook, 
as reflected in his seminal publications. 
He often said that even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps 
he found only two races of men to exist: 
decent and unprincipled ones. 

These were to be found in all classes, ethnicities, and groups. 
Following this line of thinking, he once recommended that the Statue of Liberty on the East coast of the US 
be complemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West coast, 
and there were reportedly plans to construct such a statue.

Another important conclusion for Frankl was:
If a prisoner felt that he could no longer endure the realities of camp life, 
he found a way out in his mental life
– an invaluable opportunity to dwell in the spiritual domain,
the one that the SS were unable to destroy.

Spiritual life strengthened the prisoner,
helped him adapt,
and thereby improved his chances of survival.

This book by Frankl, I find, is one of the best books for a prisoner to read.
It is about survival and becoming.
It is about living a healthy mental and spiritual existence.
When the body is trapped.
We can live positively in our head.

On 25 September 1942, Frankl, his wife and his parents were deported to 
the Nazi Theresienstadt Ghetto. 
There Frankl worked as a general practitioner in a clinic. 
When his skills in psychiatry were noticed, 
he was assigned to the psychiatric care ward in block B IV, 
establishing a camp service of "psychohygiene" or mental health care. 
He organized a unit to help newcomers to the camp overcome shock and grief. 
Later he set up a suicide watch, assisted by Regina Jonas.[2][6] On 29 July 1943, 
Frankl .... offered a series of open lectures, including 
"Sleep and Sleep Disturbances", 
"Body and Soul", 
"Medical Care of the Soul",
"How to keep my nerves healthy?"

I have tested out his conclusion in some everyday circumstances.
Some stressful circumstances.
Thinking of the positives to come.
Not dwelling on the positives of the past.
Beyond Beyond Beyond - the now.

On 19 October 1944, Frankl and his wife Tilly were transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, 
where he was processed. 
He was moved to Kaufering, a Nazi concentration camp affiliated with Dachau concentration camp, 
where he arrived on 25 October 1944. 
There he was to spend 5 months working as a "slave-laborer". 
In March 1945, he was offered to be moved to the so called rest-camp Türkheim, also affiliated with Dachau. 
He decided to go to Türkheim, where he worked as a doctor until 27 April 1945, 
when Frankl was liberated by the Americans.

"The salvation of man is through love and in love."

Viktor Frankl