Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Light in the darkness of the soul

Viktor E. Frankl was Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School and Distinguished Professor of Logotherapy at the U.S. International University. He is the founder of what has come to be called the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy (after Freud's psychoanalysis and Adler's individual psychology) -- the school of “logotherapy.”

Born in 1905, Dr. Frankl received the degrees of Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Vienna. During World War II he spent three years at Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps. He died in 1997.

His book "Man's search for meaning" where he describes his ordeal in the concentration camp is a marvelous and uplifting read.

 I’ve just come across a short video snippet of one of his lectures. It lasts four minutes. You can see it here. Dr. Frankl in his charming accent basically says: “If we take man as he is, we'll make him worse. But if we take man as he should be we make him capable of becoming what he can be".  A beautiful and relevant lesson.

The ancients knew well there is indeed light in the darkness of the soul. To get to the truest nature of a human being we have to aim very high. Dr. Frankl suggests that being an idealist is the only way to be a realist.

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