I am in Madeira, Portugal out in the Atlantic ocean near Morocco, Africa so my postings will be brief and perhaps irregular until our return. I’ve also admired and benefited from Victor E. Frankel’s book Man’s search for Meaning. Here are some of rthe observations from this man who survived Jewish concentration camps where so many people were murdered. Why am I sharing these on a legal blog? Because I believe these are thoughts we trial lawyers can benefit and learn from.
Fate in the concentration camps:
Frankel writes about the story "Death in Terran" where a man’s servant goes to his master and says he just saw death and he needs a horse to leave town because he knows death has come for him and he must escape. He plans to ride to Terran to escape death. The master gives him and horse and the servant rides full speed to Terran. Later the master encountersdeath and asks"why did you frighten my servant?" Death said, "I didn’t. I was just surprised to see him here because I expected to meet him in Terran." It’s a story about fate and inevitable outcomes. In the concentration camps Frankel decided he would not try to figure out what the best choices were to avoid death and insteadlet fate take it’s course.In the concentration camps choices as to which line an inmate got intomight determine whether hediedas a result of why the guards were forming lines. Frankeldecided he would not try to figure out which line was best and try to get out of one line or get into another. Nor would he try to figure out which jobs to try to get to imprve his chancefor survival. Hewould instead accept whatever fate had in store for him.
The primary goal of man is to find meaning in life
Frankel’s observations and experiences led him to concludeman’s primary needis not to gain pleasure or avoid pain, but rather to find meaning inlife. That is ouroverriding drive and is absolutely necessary for happiness and survival.Prisoners who found a reason to live, even if it was revenge, were far more likely to survive then those who gave up or had no fixed purpose in life nor found a meaning in life.
Learn to embrace natural fear
Frankie also concluded that fightingfear actually causes to happen what one is fearful about.Therefore, one should do the opposite of fighting fear.For example, if you are nervous when you stand up, instead of trying not to be nervous, instead say to yourself I accept my nervousness and understand why I am nervous.I am going to continue while being nervous.
Frankel arguesthat freedom carries a duty ofresponsibility. We need to accept responsibility for our duties and for our choices. It is important that we fulfill duties of responsibility.He says there should be a companion statue to the statue of Liberty: The statue of Responsibility.