In the book of Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist, who became a prisoner under Hilter’s reign of terror. He mentioned that if living has a purpose, so does suffering and death. As a prisoner, everything was stripped from them—from clothes, wedding rings, down to their names, goals and dreams, they exist in the world of literally naked existence.
In coming to Auschwitz, Viktor knew the fact that life will be cruel and ruthless, since it is a place of gas chambers and crematorium where people hopes to be alive the upcoming days but this thought doesn’t stop him from having a hopeful view in every situation he’ll be going through inside the camp. The place was grey and dark in color, it was filled with despair and uneasiness, it was surrounded with electric barbed-wire which is the number one road to suicide, and being alive each day is a surprising phenomenon because one wrong move is equivalent to receiving inhumane sanctions. Viktor view on suicide is it was a way of escape, to avoid the painful life of having responsibility to live.
Viktor responded to these situations by modifying his mind in thinking spiritual freedom is a necessity. It is important to look for purpose within the pain than to lose hope because you cannot force things to change; you just have to live with it. There was this one time where Viktor showed no emotion to a dead man while other inmates stole something away from him, he lived inside the camp being unbothered while everyone was rushing each condition, he sat their focusing on little joys such as eating the bread he saved for himself while his co-prisoner was crying, being alive the next day, and even resting. In these occurrences he held his head high. With Viktor being uninvolved, he gained protection from one the Capos inside the camp, Viktor gave therapeutic guidance effortlessly.
Before Viktor was imprisoned, he lived in Vienna, during the train ride to another camp, he was so eager to take a one last look to it but he failed, in this event in his life, he never threw a fit even if he really wanted to see his native town.
As they were living in the camp, a lot of different classification of sickness was formed. During the typhus outbreak, Viktor managed to direct this thinking to other use, he talked to himself straight and drafts his manuscript once again and focused on what he needs in order for him to get better, these doings were commendable.
Viktor was always observant and he generally much enlighten other inmates, he is a great listener and with this, he contemplated on what he heard through one of the inmates—the thought of his wife, Viktor heed to the idea of his wife, he thinks of her in a structured manner. This concept of his love for his wife began to take over, he talked to his wife inside his head, his love was absolute and concrete, he believed in this kind of idea that a person holds on to the past for temporary bliss of happiness. Viktor viewed love as the highest goal for a man’s salvation, according to his logotherapy, loving someone helps you find the purpose in life however, can be a sense of duty if the love shared is not seeking for mutual goals.
Viktor and other prisoners were always anxious because they were consistently watched by the guards and an incorrect action may result to merciless beatings or worse, gas chambers that come with screaming and sorrowful wail. They sleep at night with burden and this act became habitual. In addition, the loss of freedom is what made them in deep impression of fear; they lived each day deliberating whether they will go on for suicide, be sick or work until they were freed, if possible, and still, Viktor remained appreciative despite of all of this tragedy. As days go by, Viktor and the prisoners recognize the worth on what was given to them, Viktor continued to acknowledge that suffering has a direction and little things mattered.
When Viktor fled to “rest camp”, he chose his own fate by trying to escape from the camp, he hastily planned the escape without any second thinking, nobody mattered, it was an ill-planned strategy and it didn’t come as soon as he expected, with the thought of death creeping into his mind, Frankl believed that guilt was capable of reshaping oneself because not only he harmed himself but with his friend as well, he was more careful and responsible for his actions, and he was more self-aware of what truly is happening because fate cannot be altered.
Frankl’s intentionality was to never suppress reality, he always knew that every individual has a freedom to choose, a freedom of choice to fulfill the purpose of existence. A man should live with seeking the purpose of not only life but to recognize the meaning of it even if it comes with suffering and death.
With embracing the idea of future, one must willfully commit on this, while inside the concentration camp, Frankl noticed the transition of anxiety to apathy, most of the inmates lose their hope, and they were desperate to see one sunset for one more time, their body gave up on them, they were more looking forward to sleeping but Frankl did not give up on whatever condition he was placed to, he cling to looking forward for his family and wife even when there is no assurance that they were alive.
When Viktor Frankl reached the destined way for freedom, he kept his choice in selecting to choose one’s way of living. The right attitude was to look for future goals, for an individual to be determined to live even if bitterness crawls back to you.
In Viktor Frankl’s experiences inside the concentration camp he started with optimism viewpoint and he lingered on that mindset until he was freed, he developed a more deepen understanding in spiritual freedom which turned into logotherapy, Logotherapy was partly based on Stoicism because in Stoicism, living is a come-what-may process, you accept the fate that is destined for you, and you seek for meaning of life to transform oneself while Logotherapy was a fundamental movement in finding meaning of life. Both of these believed that happenings cannot be altered.