[From The Guardian]
Frankl, a contemporary of Freud, lost his whole family during the Nazi’s attempted extermination of the Jews. He developed his theory of “healing through meaning”, known as logotherapy, while a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Kaufering concentration camps. He counselled his fellow prisoners, many of whom were suicidal, with a philosophy that argued that striving for meaning, not pleasure nor power, is what keeps us alive.
His book detailed the psychological reactions that an inmate progressed through during their time in the camps and how their behaviour changed if they survived and were liberated. He argued that men were “decent” or “indecent” regardless of their station. So a Nazi guard who showed kindness could be a decent man, while an inmate who exploited his fellow prisoners for personal gain, could be indecent.
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