The Victor Frankl 5-a-day Book Cult: Day 3

These five pages (p22-26 in my 2004 Rider edition) begin with the first phase of the inmates mental reactions to life in a concentration camp. Unsurprisingly, the dominant symptom on admission to Auschwitz was shock.

There are three passages in today’s reading that stand out for me. The first is Frankl’s observation of the ‘delusion of reprieve’:

The condemned man, immediately before his execution, gets the illusion that he might be reprieved at the very last minute. We, too, clung to shreds of hope and believed to the last moment that it would not be so bad.

Continue reading “The Victor Frankl 5-a-day Book Cult: Day 3”

The Victor Frankl 5-a-day Book Club: Day 2

Membership Criteria: Read 5 pagesĀ a day of Man’s Search for Meaning to complete the whole darn text in only 28 days. If you’re pressed for time, try 3 pages a day of the central story: Experiences in a Concentration Camp.

Day 2, p17-21

These first pages of Part 1: Experiences in a Concentration Camp contain the most chilling passage I think I have ever read in a work of non-fiction.

After describing how desperate was the fight for survival in the concentration camps of World War Two, Frankl matter-of-factly states:

On the average, only those prisoners could keep alive who, after years of trekking from camp to camp, had lost all scruples in their fight for existence; they were prepared to use every means, honest and otherwise, even brutal force, theft, and betrayal of their friends, in order to save themselves.

We who have come back, by the aid of many lucky chances or miracles – whatever one may choose to call them – we know: the best of us did not return.

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It’s a wonderful life – isn’t it?

It’s not every day that the premise for a Hollywood film gets turned into a psychology experiment designed to make you feel more satisfied with your life.

But that’s what has happened to Frank Capra’s perennial schmaltz-fest It’s A Wonderful Life. Continue reading “It’s a wonderful life – isn’t it?”

The Only Serious Question of Philosophy

In the preface to my edition of Man’s Search for Meaning, Gordon W Allport tells us that Victor Frankl used to ask his psychotherapy clients what it was that stopped them from committing suicide.

It’s a question that existential philosopher and bon vivant Albert Camus considered the only serious question in philosophy. Continue reading “The Only Serious Question of Philosophy”