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The book I read was called, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. Viktor Frankl was psychiatrist and philospher who lived through the nazi era, one of the most dehumanizing periods of history, came face to face with conditions that most people couldn’t deal with psychologically. He made the conclusion that the sort of person the prisoner becomes is the result of an inner decision and not the result of outside influences alone. Through observation (in concentration camps, and as a therapist), extensive research, and establishing a doctrine of principles that show the challenges of being human, Frankl developed the idea of logotherapy. Logotherapy is therapy through meaning, derived from the Greek word, logos. The most intriging thought in the book and shows how he faced the challenges may best be summed up in the phrase—“He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any ‘how’.” The book is divided basically into two sections. The first deals with his experiences in the life of a concentration camp, and the second deals with a description of what logotherapy is and principles of which it is founded on. In the beginning of the book he decribes that his intention of writing the book are not that of to prove factual accounts, for there are many of those already, but to explain their experiences in present day knowledge. He goes on to say ,”No explanations are needed for those who have been inside, and others will understand neither how we felt then of how we feel now. “There are things which must cause you to lose your reason or you have none to lose.” An Abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior (book). There were a few phases that the prisoner went into as he entered prison life. The first is what Frankl called “delusional reprieve”. He describes this as the condemened man, immidiately before he gets executed has the illusion that he might be reprieved at the very last minute. As many people were ushered into camps in the beginning, many people hung on to these shreds of hope and believed that these camps wouldn’t be so bad. In this phase people were just beginning to see how bad things were. Frankl tell of how he read somewhere that man cannot live without a stated number of hours—“Quite wrong!”, He says.
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