Sunday, March 17 — Victor Frankl: The Last of All Human Freedoms
Victor Frankl wrote a book entitled, “Man’s Search for Meaning” arising from his experience of having lived in a Nazi concentration camp. A psychiatrist, Frankl expressed in the book the therapeutic philosophy that arose from the brutal experience he had undergone. Central to his thought was the importance of human beings becoming conscious of their ultimate inner freedom. Here is a quote from the book:
“He who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given sent of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
In the oppression of the concentration camp, certain prisoners stood out by their nobility of spirit by claiming their inner freedom and using it for the ultimate purpose – to be an instrument of love.
Fortunately we don’t live in a concentration camp but we do live with fallible human beings who are a mixture of light and darkness, and sometimes out of their darkness they lash at us in destructive ways. At such times our instinct is to strike back in some way (though often our striking back can consist simply in turning a cold shoulder.) Is it possible to claim our God-given freedom by rising above our instinctual desire and choosing instead to be a part of the solution in this broken world rather than a part of the problem?