Monday, 24 March 2014

Why I Love to Read, part 6

Why I Love to Read- Monday special.
Reason number 6:
Reading can teach you about life.
And this book has many lessons about life.
"Man's Search for Meaning" was written in 1946, telling about the author's experiences in Auschwitz during W.W.II.  Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist.  Although he survived the Holocaust, his wife, mother and brother died there. 

  Frankl writes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death.

  In a group therapy session during a fast inflicted on the camp's inmates, Frankl offered the thought that for everyone in a dire condition there is someone looking down, a friend, family member, or even God, who would expect not to be disappointed. Frankl concludes from his experience that a prisoner's psychological reactions are not solely the result of the conditions of his life, but also from the freedom of choice he always has even in severe suffering. The inner hold a prisoner has on his spiritual self relies on having a hope in the future, and that once a prisoner loses that hope, he is doomed.

Frankl concludes that there are only two races of men, decent and indecent.  No society is free of either of them, and thus there were 'decent' Nazi guards as well as 'indecent' prisoners, most notably the kapo who would torture and abuse their fellow prisoners for personal gain.

"What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life - daily and hourly. Our question must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual."

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”  Viktor E. Frankl 

"Man's Search for meaning" belongs to a list of "the ten most influential books in the United States".

Frankl died in 1997 at the age of 92.  His book had been translated from German into 24 languages and had sold 10 million copies at the time of his death.

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