Reading A Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl was one of the most rewarding and stressful reading experiences I have ever been assigned. The hardships Frankl endured in the concentration camps during WWII embodied both suffering and aguish and at the same time peace and hope. Being that I am an emancipated youth from Children and Family Services with a deep family background in respect to drugs, addiction, and abuse; the message of the book touch a extremely sore and hidden part of my being.
And I would assume that those who have had to fight the aftermath of trauma that has led to some kind of self-hopelessness or even thoughts of suicide could related to this book in ways that they never could have imagine. The even though the notions of psychological freedom, discovering meaning, and responsibility are fundamental factors of a healthy psyche, I feel that there are factors that aren’t mention or have not been taken into consideration which could make the task of embracing psychological freedom, finding desire for meaning, and taking responsibility quite difficult.
According to Frankl one has the freedom to determine his or hers own feeling and attitudes not matter the situation. People choose their reactions, which isn’t diction or influence by the environment. “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom” (Frankl page). Frankl describes very clearly a step-by-step psychological processing of individual’s response to his or hers extremely stressful environment, he does this by uses his own reaction and experience in the concentration camp.
Frankl makes the argument that we all have the choice to choose our emotions, perceptions and attitudes. However, he says on page 23 that he could not care about the awful beatings and unmoral punishments he saw on a daily bases. In his experience, in order to survive one must become insensitive or deaden to his/hers own feelings and the situations at hand. If one “decides” to become deaden or shutdown due to the terrors around him/her isn’t that individual responding to a stimulus of survival.
And like any animal, human have survival instants evident by reflexes such as fight or flight. Shutting down, or deadening is an innate responds to detrimental stimuli, which could be a reflex. One can condition themselves to choose to view every situation as positively as they want however, believing that one always has control over how they feel and/ or react must be actively incorporated in their interactions with the environment over a period of time.
Frankl going into the concentration camps had assessed to how a person psyche works. He could of saw the benefit of positive thinking and embracing one psychological freedom over a long time period with his own patients which could of played a big role in his ability to come out of the camps psychologically healthier than his contemporaries. I was also surprised at how well the book described your step-by-step psychological reactions to the situation.
Throughout this description you tend to focus on your individual response, perceptions, and feeling without making a connection between the factors of situation and your response. Your individual reaction varys depending on the situation or given circumstance. One of the narratives that stood that could be an example of this point is when you were addressing the action of shutting down. Is it possblie to say that the abrupt awaking to your hustle environment that was desription .
Could it be that the abruptness He also talks about finding beauty and art right while describing periods with other prisoners who gather in hopes of finding support through poems, jokes, and songs. When there is a group of oppressive individuals who are living in the same space tends to an instinct where the group forms their own invisible network of support. “They came to have a few laughs and perhaps to cry a little: anyway to forget. ”(Frankl 41).