In my last post I briefly discussed Viktor Frankl and his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, which led him to conclude that even in the midst of so much suffering, there is still meaning to be found in existence. Here's another extract from his book, 'Man's Search For Meaning' (source):
We 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 set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
And I asked the questions:
If you're in a concentration camp, isn't it okay to be pissed off at the Nazi's for coming along and taking away your freedoms and very likely your existence too? Is it really 'best' to face such adversities with a smile, or is it okay to be depressed by the fact that 'life is [can be] a piece of shit, and then you die?
So last night I decided to watch a film I haven't seen in many years, called 'Life is Beautiful'. It's the very Chaplinesque story of a lovable, bumbling Jewish waiter who falls in love with a girl and ends up in a concentration camp, with his young son.
As the clip shows, in the face of adversity, Guido was chirpy to the very end and so, represents the kind of person that Frankl was describing.
But after watching 'Life is Beautiful' again, nothing has changed with me. If it were me instead of Frankl or Guido, I would be angry. Angry that others had split me up from my family, were abusing me and my loved ones, and that they had no other plans but to kill us. In those circumstances I feel justified in being angry at other people. Without other humans to make the weapons, the ammunition, to serve as soldiers, or support an inhumane regime, none of it would have happened.
And to be honest, the horrors of the concentration camp are merely the end of a spectrum of interference and abuse by humans on humans, which occurs daily...Go Top