Viktor Frankl - Experiences in a Concentration Camp

Approaching Infinity

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Maybe deep down I refused his idealism and existentialism, which in essence is a form of post-modernism that we all know is toxic.

It sounds to me that you are actually highly idealistic yourself, and when others fail to conform to your ideal, you get angry. But not having read Frankl, perhaps he means idealism of a different sort. Maybe you can clarify for me, and how it is a form of postmodernism. Regardless of that, I think my point still stands. You seem to not only have a highly idealistic outlook; it is also unrealistic. You hold up others to impossible standards and then get angry at them for not living up to your idealized image. Do you see how self-defeating that is, and how it makes you bitter and angry? Do you realize that's how you come across to others - as angry, contrarian, complaining?

I think it would be more helpful for you - and to the people with whom you interact - for you stop getting angry at the world for not living up to your image, and start getting angry at yourself for not living up to who YOU could be. Other people will not change to live up to your standards. The world will not reshape itself in your image. But you can change yourself, if you want to.

Yes, I'm angry because this is another lie exposed about our heroes. Just like the C's and others exposed Mother Theresa for being quite dark, maybe it's time we woke the hell up and saw this:

I thought Frankl left a bad taste in your mouth "for a long time". So what is making you angry? It doesn't sound like you personally held Frankl up as a hero of yours. Same with Mother Theresa? Maybe it's time to stop looking for perfect heroes and start becoming the person you wish your heroes could have been.
 

Renaissance

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Had I been in that situation, I'd be dead quickly. Remember Laura's great article on transmarginal inhibition by Pavlov? The dogs that stopped fighting survived the holocaust, including Frankl

That's not an accurate reading of Laura's article nor of Pavlov's material. Pavlov's experiments *with dogs* mind you, show how different temperaments respond differently to stressors in what might be described as an almost absolue mechanical condition. The inhibitory type basically get stuck in 'shut down mode' while the excitatory become unceasingly aggressive. Still there does seem to be good evidence that there is some fair translation into human temperament and personality, and I'd agree that you fall in the later aggressive camp. You're aggression is pretty constant, which also lacks proportionality and perspective. It's not hard to figure out how those acting blindly aggressive in the face of pathological adversity are usually 'put down'. This isn't a testament for the value of aggression via some narrative to 'fight the power'. We see the harm in this day in and day out with 'well-intentioned' SWJ activists severly damaging the societies they supposedly seek to better. History has also shown a consistent and horrific path of destruction following this type of reactivity, both on a macro-scale and on an individual level.

These mechanical reactions as researched by Pavlov don't look at the unique human ability to examine and work through our suffering to come out on the other side as better people. This type of inspiration can provide incredible value if you can open yourself to it. But for that to happen you have to see your controlling nature and release the tight grip you have on how you think things should be and give a bit of forgiveness for the imperfections of your fellows.
 
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Gaby

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Sorry, I had a bad taste in my mouth about Frankl for quite a bit of time. Why? I don't know, I just didn't feel he was sincere. I couldn't see where he made sense.

Viktor Frankl's book is deeply touching for the anti-nihilistic message it conveys and getting caught in the details is missing the point - we can find meaning in life regardless of our circumstances. It is up to us. It is up to you.
 

sid

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DBZ, might I add something if it helps. It may even seem a little unrelated to the current topic.

Laura touches on the subject of essense and personality in last few chapters of the Wave. We are born with certain essense and start growing a personality after the age of four. That personality is a result of our experiences, social circumstances and interactions with other people/surroundings whilst growing up. If we have bad experiences or sufferings then that leads us to discover the “work” ie it acts as a catalyst for growth however the resulting personality comes as a baggage. Think of it as the extreme thirst which led the horse to the well. Now the horse must overcome the feeling of thirst so, that it can work out the next steps required to draw the water out of the well.

Ideally we would want to grow our essense and compatible personality in tandem with each other but this is only possible after we discover and commit to the work at a very early age. Since that has not occurred for most of us, the built-up personality is mostly fake and incompatible with essense. It has created trigger points within us and the General Law strikes us right on those points. The personality or more specifically the sacred cows get in our way of progress.

The trick is “learning to let go” and drop the personality to allow the essense to catch up. If something is troubling us then lets take some time out to observe ourselves profoundly. We must strive to discover why something particular effects us in a way to get such reactions out of us. And we must do so ruthlessly. It is pointless to find blame in others for their own actions since people will do what they think is right in their own mind. There is nothing we can about that. Is there anything we can do to overcome our emotional response to it?

The fight is always within and through us. We are our best friends and biggest enemy at the same time.
Hope I made sense.

Cheers
Sid
 

Windmill knight

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Sorry, I had a bad taste in my mouth about Frankl for quite a bit of time. Why? I don't know, I just didn't feel he was sincere. I couldn't see where he made sense. Had I been in that situation, I'd be dead quickly. Remember Laura's great article on transmarginal inhibition by Pavlov? The dogs that stopped fighting survived the holocaust, including Frankl

Maybe deep down I refused his idealism and existentialism, which in essence is a form of post-modernism that we all know is toxic. Maybe this is just me justifying that feeling. But, remember that history is written by the victors. Frankl lied about the time he spent in the camps. He had skills and was part of brain experiments on suicidal Jews. Of course, to someone like Frankl, someone who was suicidal, they are a failure. You tell me that this guy doesn't sound exactly like Freud, who only gained notoriety despite his ungainly past due to what people wanted. You tell me that there's no religion behind his beliefs on how to survive, despite he wasn't actually in the same conditions as the general population.

You missed the point. If your life has meaning, you will be more likely to survive. But surviving per se is not the point - even if you don't, you will have lived a better life until the end. On the other hand, not having any meaning makes you more likely to die, but even if you don't, what would that matter for you if you had no meaning? Fighting here means aiming for meaning - that's quite the opposite of postmodernism! Interesting that you think he was not fighting and was a postmodernist! What is fighting to you? You seem to 'fight' a lot in the forum. Maybe you are not fighting the right fight?

Yes, I'm angry because this is another lie exposed about our heroes. Just like the C's and others exposed Mother Theresa for being quite dark, maybe it's time we woke the hell up and saw this:

You being angry seems to happen a lot. Did you read that guy's book? As far as I can tell after reading the article you posted, Frankl's sins seem to be:

- He was only 3 days in Auschwitz. But was then sent to Dachau, so I don't see what's the big deal here, or how that invalidates the essence of his story and experiences.
- He took part in brain experiments on suicidal Jews. Here, context and details are important. He says he was trying to help those people, which may have actually been the case! But of course, if you put 'experiment' and 'nazis' in the same sentence, it has to be bad, right? Well, not necessarily.
- He was under the auspices of the Nazi regime while working on those experiments. But all of Germany, Austria and other parts of Europe were under the Nazi regime at the time, so there's no surprise there. How could anyone expect to do anything at that time and place and not be under the auspices of the Nazis? Context and details.

No, Frankl doesn't sound exactly like Freud. It is possible that he did bad things during his life, but then it all depends on what exactly were those things, and what were the details of the circumstances. But, unless you actually read the guy's (the one who wrote the article) book and found it to be rock solid, I assume you decided to condemn Frankl in your mind after reading the article on its own, mostly because you already had a bad feeling about him, one which you don't know where it comes from.

It's like you carry some unspecified anger inside and you are just going around projecting it on people, and that colors all your opinions.
 

Alana

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DBZ, I agree with the feedback you received so far. To me also you sound angry, bitter, resentful, contrarian... That's how you come across through your post in this thread and others before it. So you seem to be having some issues. Sure, the world has its own, and so does everyone in it. But what we all see in you, those aspects of you that appear angry, bitter, resentful, contrarian, those are yours, and those are your own responsibility. They are also the smudges on the lens through which you see everything. So, I am wondering, what are you doing about yourself and about your own life to improve it, instead of pointing fingers on everyone/everything else’s real or perceived shortcomings?
 

Yas

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Maybe deep down I refused his idealism and existentialism, which in essence is a form of post-modernism that we all know is toxic. Maybe this is just me justifying that feeling. But, remember that history is written by the victors. Frankl lied about the time he spent in the camps. He had skills and was part of brain experiments on suicidal Jews. Of course, to someone like Frankl, someone who was suicidal, they are a failure. You tell me that this guy doesn't sound exactly like Freud, who only gained notoriety despite his ungainly past due to what people wanted. You tell me that there's no religion behind his beliefs on how to survive, despite he wasn't actually in the same conditions as the general population.

I don't like to bring up the "you haven't read it" card, but it is obvious that you haven't read nor Freud nor Frankl if you say they sound exactly the same. Actually, Frankl was somewhat opposed to Freud's ideas and that's why he wasn't even considered part of the psychoanalytic school, although his psychology is also analytical.

What's wrong about him having "religion" behind his beliefs? And don't you think that that makes him less likely to be a post-modernist as you claim him to be?

And, yes, it is very likely that you'll find some form of "religion" behind his beliefs because he says that, in order to find meaning in life one must find something that is bigger than us, something that transcends us, be it love, religion or a cause (aim) to which we dedicate our lives and which is oriented towards something more than just ourselves, for example. That sounds as almost the opposite of post-modernism to me, a philosophy that puts individual-subjective feelings above all things and seems to imply that nothing matters and there's no real meaning in life other than the ever-changing feelings we have from one moment to the other.

Frankl isn't perfect of course, and I don't get the sense that people hold him as a hero here, but many have found useful and inspiring ideas in his writings. And I think that's because his ideas basically go against the denigration of the spirit and nihilism; because he puts this kind of meaning (that transcends one-self) in the centre of human existence and proposes that what we value and how we act according to our values will determine a lot in terms of our development as individuals, as well as our state of being.

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When we're constantly expecting the world to meet our unreal expectations, the most likely result will be that we will get unreasonable angry at whatever because we don't even know what we're expecting. In those cases, it's good to take a deep look at oneself and try to see what is it that we're expecting from the world and see how realistic/reasonable it is to expect that... OSIT.
 

Mike

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I thought Frankl left a bad taste in your mouth "for a long time". So what is making you angry? It doesn't sound like you personally held Frankl up as a hero of yours. Same with Mother Theresa? Maybe it's time to stop looking for perfect heroes and start becoming the person you wish your heroes could have been.

Maybe DBZ is reacting to my thoughts on Frankl in connection to what he and another poster where writing in another thread, although I did not reply directly to DBZ or the other poster.

Personally, I'd rather do most all I can to survive whatever might be coming and help others do the same within the limits of not sacrificing trying to serve others and becoming some kind of monster just for the sake of survival. The way the conversation has turned makes me think of the book by Victor Frankl - 'Man's Search for Meaning' and what he went through to pass on what he learned from being in the concentration camps, etc. What if he had just given up and didn't strive to survive with as much dignity and morals as he could? All the people that have learned something from him would have missed out. The same for Solzhenitsyn's work and life. What about if Lobaczewski had given up? What if all the great minds and ideas of the world had not happened because they met resistance and trying times and people with those minds and ideas had given into pessimism and a nihilistic view of things. Throw in the ideas of Jordan Peterson as a guide to this IMO. Struggle to find meaning. Survival and understanding that you might help and teach others who are struggling.
 

Alana

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The following video comes to mind.


Good old Peterson! And yes, relevant to this latest discussion. I like what he says about trading resentment and bitterness for gratefulness and inquiring, wording them respectively as:

“Thank God things aren’t worse for me than they are”

&

“I don’t know how to make things better but I am open to suggestions, man![…] How can I make things better? What thing can I give up to make myself/my family/my community better?”

In another part of the video, Cain who failed to produce his sacrificial offering is enveloped in haze and smoke, and instead of realizing that the fact that the fire isn’t burning might be an indication that he is doing something wrong, he is thinking, "what kind of universe will produce smoke like this?" Blaming the universe instead of questioning his own actions/ways of doing things.
 

Ennio

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When you react to perceived faults, weaknesses, and flaws in the reactive way that you quite often do DBZ - you project your own narcissistic image of yourself in a way i.e. “If I were in that person’s shoes, I would have done it this way or that way!!” - not taking into account the particular challenges that were being met to some great degree, or the particular circumstances that make any headway something to be acknowledged. In other words, there seems to be little effort on your part to put yourself in others’ shoes for just a moment and attempt to see a person and their situation in as much complexity and nuance as possible.

You know of others here who have held on to their anger at the world and their thoughts on how things should be - much to their detriment - and not made the efforts to be the change they wanted to see. Is this really the road you want to travel on?
 

Gawan

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Viktor Frankl's book is deeply touching for the anti-nihilistic message it conveys and getting caught in the details is missing the point - we can find meaning in life regardless of our circumstances. It is up to us. It is up to you.

Absolutely and this is something I took from his book, that even in the darkest hour meaning can be found. Can you do that too DBZ?
 

Learner

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Hello DBZ, I wanted to share the following:

I happened to listen to a lecture from Daniele Ganser on Youtube yesterday (in German). He talked about NATO, Russia, Ukraine & the regime change there in 2014 and how a strategy of tension is being used in this context by US and NATO. However, towards the end of his lecture he said, how important it is to get off from media regularly, take some time off from the pathological craziness with which we are confronted as news consumers and go into nature. Go into the forest, take a hike in the mountains or wherever to replenish yourself, and then you can take up new amounts of information in a refreshed way (I am just recounting from my memory here).

He told something along the line, that when he went into nature, he was able to be more mindful of his surroundings and of himself and it gave him the freedom to take in impressions in a new way & thereby to notice new things that he wasn't able to notice before. Like, that he could detect symmetry and order in things - for example the arrangement of the blossom of a sunflower. Before that and in his "everyday" or old mode he would have found it boring to look at the blossom of a sunflower. But now many interesting things revealed themselves to him by just looking at it in a new way and with the insights he had gained from his times in nature. He shared to his audience the conclusion, that many things in the world are a mess - but yet many things are in order and have beauty (like the arrangement of the blossom of a sunflower or like a rose). As Jordan Peterson would put it: Order vs. Chaos. Or, as in the context of the Work here, Being vs. Non-Being.

I think it comes down to the way we choose to see things. This evening I looked out of the window and thought: "Oh, it's just so dark and rainy and cold out there." ... "But wait! I still have this lamp in the shape of a star installed on the window (a leftover from the season) - so just let's light it!" Now it shines and makes my room more comfortable, and people having to be outside in the dark cold can see and enjoy it as well. Now the darkness seems not so dark anymore - or at least to me ;-)
 
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