Man\'s Search For Meaning
Viktor Franklís concept regarding survival and fully living was developed
through his observations and experiences in the concentration camps. He used his
psychiatric training to discern the meanings of observations and to help himself
become a better person. He uses analysis to develop his own concepts and
describes them in steps throughout the book. When the prisoners first arrived at
the camp most of them thought they would be spared at the last moment. The
prisoners believed they had a chance of surviving, but this belief was
eventually eliminated and it was at this time when the prisoners began to learn
how to survive by using their internal strength. A sense of humor had emerged
among the prisoners. This humor helped to get through some difficult situations
they faced. Viktor also observed how much a person could really endure and still
live. Even though the prisoners could not clean their teeth and were deprived of
warmth and vitamins, they still were able to survive. The sores and abrasions on
their hands did not suppurate despite the dirt that gathered on them from the
hard labor. The challenge of staying alive under these wretched conditions was
to have and maintain strong internal strength. During the time he spent in the
camps, Viktor learned what was needed to survive and how to keep his internal
strength despite his weakening external strength. During the second stage of

Viktorís psychological reaction, prisoners lost their sense of feeling and
emotion toward events that would be emotional to people outside the camps. This
was a result of the violent environment, which consisted of beatings of
prisoners and the death of many others. The prisoners could no longer feel any
disgust or horror since these emotions where very common. From Viktorís
professional point of view, this observation surprised him and also gave him a
different point of view of the whole situation. The pain that hurt Viktor the
most was the pain he felt when he received punishment for no reason. The
punishments were of an insult, and hurt the prisoners on the inside more than on
the outside. Viktor also acknowledged the fact that since the prisoners lacked
the primary needs, they would dream about them and put all other needs aside.

Since there was a lack of food Viktor depended greatly on his inner thoughts to
get himself through the suffering. He needed some hope and a reason to live. He
thought about his wife and the love that they shared. Every chance, he got he
thought about pleasant events from the past to help get through all the hard
times. The prisoners had a life of their own in their minds. At one point Viktor
gave up on trying to control his life and in sending himself into the path he
wanted. He decided to let fate take its course. After a while he found out that
he could not allow this to happen, his inner emotions could not stand being
helpless. He had to make decisions for himself if he wanted to have some control
over his life and if he wanted to get out of the camp alive. When the camps were
closing Viktor became the emotional leader of the remaining prisoners. He raised
their hopes, and by doing this he was looking at the situation from a different
point of view. He believed that life expected more from them and that they had
to live in order to accomplish the unfinished work they had left behind when
they left their home. When Viktor and the prisoners were released everyone
except Viktor had no sense of direction. They did not know what was right and
what was wrong. They went around and copied the actions of the SS, not knowing
that it was wrong. Victor was fortunate and did not end up like the other
survivors, since he had more knowledge than they did and was able to see his
opportunity to live his life again. Viktorís concept applies to my life during
the times when I am feeling bad or when I just donít know what to do. When I
am have tremendous amount of work and I donít know when or how I will get
through it I think about how it will turn out in the future. I know that I will
get through the difficulty alive, unlike the situation that Viktor and the other
prisoners were going through. I just look forward to the future and acknowledge
the fact that even if I do a