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Viktor Frankl

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It is times like these, the day after the horrible tragedy in Newtown, that I reevaluate everything.

Is there an answer, a reason for this person’s actions? How could another human being inflict so much pain and suffering?

Years back, at the insistence of my philosophy professor, I read a book called Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. It was Frankl’s personal account of survival in Nazi concentration camps.

The book is a crystal-clear first hand portrayal of the depths of despair and anguish suffered by prisoners in death camps such as Auschwitz and Dachau. But still, through it all, he held on to hope and love.

Before the war he was a psychiatric doctor specializing in depression and suicide. He had been influenced, early in his career, by contact with Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich.

He went on to develop a form of existential analysis that he termed Logotherapy.

What I took away from reading it is that the tiniest little sparkle of love, in a persons heart, can see one through anything. It is a great book and at times like these, when life’s circumstances can offer little in the way of making sense, it can help to shed light on what it is to be human and offer a way to move forward.

Categories: General, Westport

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