Mind Over Matter - Victor Frankl
Uploaded by Chava Berman on Oct 22, 2006
“Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or avoid pain, but rather to see meaning in his life.”
V. Frankel in Man’s Search for Meaning.
Man can not overcome his trials and downfalls without hope, a determining belief in himself, and a belief in his fellow humankind. A person who dwells on the ever-stressful present without looking towards a brighter future can not cope well in an unpredictable anxious world. A strong stable sense of self is another crucial factor in determining a person’s quality of living and desire to live; knowing where one stands in a world full of conflicting views and ideas where one can easily get swept into a state of total confusion. No man is an island onto himself, the saying goes; interdependence is the way of the world, and he who attempts to prove that this does not apply to him will suffer.
Victor Frankel was a psychiatrist as well as a Jew living under Nazi Europe and was thus thrust into a world of horrors where he, together with hundreds of thousands of others were stripped of everything but their bodies, branded like cattle, starved, and dehumanized after seeing their entire families and many friends exterminated. It was here that he made the astounding realization that one’s captors can take everything away from you, control your every move and function, but the one thing that can not be taken away or controlled is one’s mind. His attitude to any given set of circumstances is up to him.
In the camps this was manifested in hope. He who lost hope was the first to die. His eyes became hopeless and his fellow inmates already knew he was gone. As long as the inmate knew in his heart that the liberation was on its way and that he would one day be able to raise a family, continue on with his routines, and live a comfortable life, he was able to survive. Maintaining a strong belief and faith in something, no matter what it was, was another factor of who was able to live, or even more heroic, who was able to meet their forced death with dignity. This belief and faith pierces through the soul of the individual until it is a part of his very nature and he is thus at peace with himself. He is unconsumed by the whirlwind of evil...