Viktor E. Frankl: Fact? Fiction?..or TRUTH?
Viktor E. Frankl’s vivid memoir, Man’s Search for Meaning, has seriously riveted his readers since its publicationover 50 years ago. Frankl dives deep into uncharted territories of the psychological aspect of survival in some of the most fierce and gruesome venues in human history, the Nazi concentration camps. Frankl shows unprecedented inside psychological knowledge. This book is exceptionally important historically. It gives a vivid account of what a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp experienced and what mental state he was in during each phase of their imprisonment. He also goes into detail on the reasons why the survivors outlasted so much mental, emotional, and physical abuse, and why others did not. Unfortunately, to some, these experiences were first hand, so due to the severity of the both physical and mental anguish is biased to some extent. Even though Frankl states himself on the very first page of his memoir. “This book does not claim to be an account of facts and events but of personal experiences, experiences which millions of prisoners have suffered time and again” (1), I still feel that his teaching of the physical and psychological states of these concentration camps to be accurate without question.
The book begins with the author’s explanation of his reasons for writing Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl then transitions into the beginning of his horrific story. He states that many of the accounts and descriptions of his story are not those experiences in the larger well known camps but in the smaller ones where a great majority of the actual
Psychological Attitudes towards Human Behavior Psychological attitude towards variety of issues is an important factor determining human behavior in certain life situation. In this research we are going to analyze the book by Victor Frakl called Mans search for meaning in order to find out possible attitudes towards human behavior and how it can be expressed. This book is giving the reader a ...
extermination took place. Frankl goes on to explain the three mental phases of camp life. He begins with the initial shock experiences upon arrival. Looking back over his own
personal entrance into Auschwitz, Viktor E. Frankl states, “if someone now asked of us the truth of Dostoevsky’s statements that flatly defines man as a being who can get used to anything, we would reply ‘yes, a man can get used to anything, but do not ask us how” (36).
He is implying that after the initial shock of the horrid conditions these human beings were being subjected to, even the fear of death had no power over them. He states that, “The thought of suicide was entertained by everyone, if only for a short time” (36).
Next, Frankl talks about “numbness.” Without hope, nor fear of death, these prisoners weren’t even afraid of the gas chambers. They viewed them as a means of saving them the trouble of committing suicide. Also, in this stage Frankl explains he would watch men being beaten to death without so much as a blink or bat of the eye.
Frankl continued on to add a piece on imprisonment, “apathy.” By definition apathy is absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. He goes on to explain that this was, in fact, the worst possible situation for these prisoners. They would just let themselves go. He explains that their lack of self preservation lead to deterioration of their physical and mental appearance, which inevitably lead to their certain selection to die. Frankl explains that the best method to avoid coming to this point is to release themselves from the emptiness. What little they could do, was keep their sense of humor, and point out the natural beauty of the world, such as a sunset. Frankl shares many more of his experiences, and lastly explains how a prisoner reacts after liberation. He shares how that even after rescue, a prisoner had a hard time escaping the apathy that had
encompassed his whole life. Frankl shares an example, “We came to meadows full of flowers. We saw and realized what they were, but had no feelings about them. (109)” This represents how hard the transition from a death camp into real life must have been. He goes on to explain how a prisoner had lost the ability to feel joy, and had to relearn the ability slowly. He adds that the more primitive prisoners upon release would reek havoc on the communities. They went from being the oppressed to being the oppressors. In other words, they became accustomed to the extreme violence and bloodshed while being detained within the camps, so when released into the free world once more some of the previously calm, humane individuals found themselves committing acts as despicable as the Nazi’s were performing previously. Frankl’s book concludes with a look into logotherapy.
Explain different psychological approaches to health practice. (P3) – Explain different psychological approaches to social care practice. In this criterion, the different psychological approaches to health practice and social care practice will be outlined and explained. Health practice is the act of a care professional that performs activities, methods and treatments in order to keep an ...
Though many people do not take all accounts of these memoirs to be considered factitious, I do believe this book is a great representation of the general situations and psychological states of prisoners help in the Nazi concentration camps throughout portions of World War Two. Frankl’s insight and knowledge is incomparable to any other psychological analysis of this time period due to his own personal involvement and personal ties into the world of psychology and Logotherapy. With his depictions of personal experiences with people in every conceivable mindset throughout his time spent in the various camps, I believe that we have no reason to doubt any of the teachings in logotherapy, let alone refute any of his accounts and descriptions of events described due to his involvement in the situation. I feel that Frankl’s involvement in these camps,
which is often the reason that some of his personal descriptions of camp life are disregarded, is the precise reason that I do have faith in his portrayment of the Holocaust from a physical and psychological standpoint. Personally, I would much rather be given a psychological account of these events by a certified psychologist who has gone through the torments and tortures of camp life himself. How can an outside source possibly have keener knowledge of any of these situations than Viktor E. Frankl?
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But, I can understand refuting Frankl’s descriptions due to some sort of psychological condition, like Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, but according to my research Frankl showed no apparent signs of that. According to an article, by Dr. Laurie Pawlik-Kienien, the signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome include: loss of interest in the world, and losing interest in previously enjoyable activities, extreme passiveness or numbness, and overwhelming states of helplessness. Now, by my account, writing memoirs and printing over 12 million copies, along with attending and hosting countless seminars and convention on Holocaust survival, would over-classify you as NOT losing interest in the world. To continue, the memoirs also rule out any signs of feeling helpless and insignificant in any way. Also, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, many patients suffering from PTSS have extreme difficulty remembering events pertaining to their particular incident. Well, even the most cynical of critics must agree that the 90+ pages in Man’s Search for Meaning and the countless number of other written and oral Holocaust presentations Viktor E. Frankl has been linked to clearly relinquish any such possibility of this symptom being present whatsoever. Though many
of his fellow Holocaust survivors may have suffered from PTSS, I have determined that I (with the help of Dr. Laurie Pawlik-Kienien and the National Institute of Mental Health) personally choose to refute any such claims that Viktor E. Frankl’s psychological state or mindset is a reason to claim that his accounts of previously mentioned events are inaccurate in any way.
In conclusion, this great memoir of depictions from the Holocaust thrilled me without question, with its vivid and personal descriptions of the most horrid and anguishing moments of Viktor E. Frankl’s life this book was both entertaining and extremely insightful into the world of psychology and logotherapy to an extent. I refute any claims that this book is irrelevant in any way due to the psychological state of Frankl himself, and with helping support from outside psychological sources, I hope to have enlightened your personal view of this writing as well.
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Frankl, Viktor E. Man’s Search for Meaning. New York: Beacon, 2006. Print.
Dr. Laurie Pawlik-Kienien, Laurie. “Treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress.” Web.
National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-
Three blondes were walking through the forest when they came upon a set of tracks.
The first blonde said, “Those are deer tracks.”
The second blonde said, “No, those are elk tracks.”
The third blonde said, “You’re both wrong, those are moose tracks.”
The blondes were still arguing when the train hit them.