Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Viktor Frankl, one seriously badass dude

During one of the watershed experiences of my life, I read Man's Search for Meaning. An unassuming little paperback, the content was dynamite. This man managed to find meaning in his existence in a Nazi concentration camp, and formulate a philosophy that says we have the bottom line opportunity in every situation in our lives to make a choice how we will respond. As he marched barefoot through the snow, he saw himself as having a choice whether or not he was going to do so. I think "We have no choice" is one of my least favorite phrases in the English language. Of course we have a choice.

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. p104, Man's Search for Meaning

What do you think about having the freedom to choose?

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8 comments:

Greg Taylor said...

All this while somehow experiencing fully his great losses, including the death of his wife and the destruction of a book manuscript he considered to be his life's work.

It just leaves me speechless, kind of.

Rob-bear said...

I remembering encountering Frankel a long time ago. In fact, it's about time I went back and re-read his book. So thanks or the reminder.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting

Susan Taylor said...

Rob-bear, you are welcome. I just skimmed through my old copy while I was writing this post and I was amused by my 21yo's notes. It was good to touch base again with the actual book. If you are interested, there is a neat YouTube video of Dr. Frankl speaking to the Toronto Youth Conference in 1972. He seemed like he was a delightful man.

Ellen M. Gregg said...

There is limitless power in recognizing that every moment of every day we have a choice: what we do, what we say, what we believe, how we act. Mr. Frankl epitomizes that.
I intend and strive, every day, to live my life that way. I'm a work in progress. :-)

Anne Mackle said...

A very thought provoking post, I haven't read his book,I must do.

godhasnoproblems said...

I'll have to add this to my book list of ones to read/get at some point.

I've been to Auschwitz twice. It's unbelievably moving/powerful/sobering (and so many other words I can't even come up with) experience.

The first time was with a Polish friend who had family killed there. It's still an experience I'm not sure I can ever fully give words to.

Thanks for this post - and again, for the book suggestion.

sherilee said...

That quote about choosing your attitude has always been one of my favorites. Great post.

Ida Chiavaro said...

It's hard to understand the concept of choice, I think Viktor Frankl taught me that searching for a deeper meaning helps you understand why.