He who has a ‘why’ can endure any ‘How’

BY Teresiah W. King’ara

Viktor E. Frankl, the author of the book, was an Auschwitz survivor and a psychiatrist. He shares lessons and insights gained during the years he survived at the concentration camp.

He describes man as: “that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer on his lips”

Mr Frankl advances the notion that, truly, man can adjust to any living conditions if he finds/puts purpose to his existence, including the suffering we go through. He also counters that beyond nature and nurture, man’s uniqueness stems from his freedom to make choices of how and or who to be under any set of circumstances, no matter how difficult. And, the fact that there are positive lessons drawn from one of the worst atrocities that man has committed against man is in itself a fit of grace and wonder.

He draws parallels where he observed fellow starving inmates, offer their ration to others whom they deemed worse off than them. He saw people go out of their way, despite the hardship and despondency in the camps to make the lives of others easier. He ponders that, all this stemmed from individuals exercising their free will to choose who to be in such difficult circumstances. 

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