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Viktor Frankl

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Tiffany Keeton

on 28 November 2014

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Transcript of Viktor Frankl

Root of Religion/Spirituality
Viktor Frankl
Who Am I?
Human Nature
“Rather than the power of pleasure, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one's life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.”
The Viktor Frankl Institute

The meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death.

Body and mind's desire to find meaning.
Continual search until the meaning of life is found or believed to be found.
Spiritual Core
-An unconscious self which seeks the meaning in human life.
"The unconscious spiritual core of existence ban be known only through its activity, the free and responsible pursuit of meaning."
Value of Religion/Spirituality
“It is my conviction that man should not, indeed cannot, struggle for identity in a direct way; he rather finds identity to the extent to which he commits himself to something beyond himself, to a cause greater than himself…It makes no sense to confront man with values which are seen merely as a form of self-expression…The meaning which a being has to fulfill is something beyond himself, it is never just himself.” (Psychotherapy and Existentialism, Frankl, p. 9-11)

Lawrence Langer
US Scholar of Holocaust literature
Believes that Frankl exploited the Holocaust for personal gains
Falsely reported what it was like inside the concentration camps so in order to prove his theory correct.
“…Frankl’s strategy is to minimize the atrocities he himself survived, and to stress the connections between pre- and post-Auschwitz reality.” (Lawrence, 1995).

Personal Background
Lived in Vienna: March 26, 1905-Sept. 2, 1997
MD in 1930
Ph.D. in 1949
First Marriage (1941): Tilly B. Grosser (died in Bergen-Belsen 1945)
Second Marriage: (1947): Eleonore B. Schwindt
One daughter: Gabrielle Frankl
Professional Background
Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School.
1940-42- Director of the Neurological Department of the Rothschild Hospital
During WWII- spent 3 years in various concentration camps including Auschwitz.
1946-70: Director of the the Vienna Neurological Polyclinic.
Became a visiting Professor at Harvard and other universities across the United States.
The U.S. International University in California installed a special chair for logotherapy - this is the psychotherapeutic school founded by Frankl, often called the "Third Viennese School" (after Freud's psychoanalysis and Adler's individual psychology.)

Frankl authored 39 books in his life, his most famous being Man’s Search for Meaning
Outlines how his theories helped him to survive his Holocaust experience.
How that experience further developed and reinforced his theories
Originally called: from Death-Camp to Existentialism
Frankl’s Three Psychological Reactions Experienced by All Inmates
(1) shock during the initial admission phase to the camp
(2) apathy after becoming accustomed to camp existence, in which the inmate values only that which helps himself and his friends survive
(3) reactions of depersonalization, moral deformity, bitterness, and disillusionment if he survives and is liberated.

Karlheinz Biller
Pytell’s accusations against Frankl are based on misinterpretations and assumptions.
Pytell did not take into account the time that Frankl conducted his work. Pytell instead viewed it through another lens.
Psychoanalytical Perspective
A form of neurosis, with God as nothing more than an “exalted father”
A crutch for the psychologically weak
Provides a reassuring framework and set of rules to be followed to ward off anxiety

Humanistic Perspective
Part of the innate human nature
Aids in the search for the ultimate meaning in life.

Origin on Religion :
Part of the “human meaning making process”

“Religion is a transcendent phenomenon in which conscience points each person to the meaning which they are being called to freely choose to fulfill” (Jefford, 2007).
Religion binds the innate part of human nature, the “will to meaning”, and the drive to find satisfaction in a person’s pursuit of transcendent goals.

“Frankl […] sees complex phenomena such as the spiritual dimension and conscience as fundamental, irreducible and uniquely human aspects of life rather than things to be explained away by processes operating at sub-human level”.

Values of an individual according to Frankl
Creative Values
Experiential Values
Attitudinal Values

Do you think Langer's criticism of Frankl holds merit?

Frankl's view on the nature of man emphasizes human free will and man's ability to change the present and future. How does this view differ from Freud's psychoanalytical perspective?

How do you think Frankl would evaluate Mr. Roger's "Neighborhood" in regards to meaning of life?
Freedom of the Will
Humans determine themselves in freedom
People are always able to take a stand toward various conditions that limit and destine lives
"It is up to us, he remarks, whether we surrender to conditions-detrimental hereditary or environmental factors-or bring the human dimension to bear and defy conditions, and thus rise above them in noological space."
The Will to Meaning
There is always an ideal ahead of us or a meaning that we are being called on to fulfill.
Always have the freedom to accept or refuse life's call to answer the question being presented
"The fulfillment of meaning always implies a decision on our part."
Objectivity of Meaning
Meanings are not free creations
Meanings are meant for discovery in life
Spiritual aspect that makes humans unique
Frankl, V. E. (1967). The doctor and the soul: from psychotherapy to logotherapy,(2d expanded ed.). New York: Bantam Books.
Frankl, V. E. (1969). The will to meaning; foundations and applications of logotherapy. New York: World Pub. Co..
Frankl, V. E., & Crumbaugh, J. C. (1967).Psychotherapy and existentialism: selected papers on logotherapy. New York: Washington Square Press.
Jefford, R. (2007). An evaluation of the importance of viktor frankl for the psychology of religion. Retrieved from http://www.earlychurch.co.uk/pdfs/The%20Importance%20of%20Viktor%20Frankl%20for%20the%20Psychology%20of%20Religion.pdf
Biller, K., Levinson, J. I., & Pytell, T. (2002). Viktor frankl – opposing views. Journal of Contemporary History 37(1), 105-113.
Viktor Frankl Institute <www.viktorfrankl.org>
Langer, Lawrence L. Jewish Virtual Library- A division of the american-israeli cooperative enterprise. encyclopedia Judaica 2008. The Gale Group
Pytell, T. (2003). Redeeming the unredeemable: Auschwitz and man's search for meaning. Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 17(1), 89-113. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/holocaust_and_genocide_studies/v017/17.1pytell.html
Das, A. K. (1998). Frankl and the realm of meaning. Journal Of Humanistic Education & Development, 36(4), 199.
(2001). Was holocaust survivor viktor frankl gassed at auschwitz?. The Journal of Historical Review, 20(5/6), 10. Retrieved from http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v20/v20n5p10_frankl.html
Forsyth, J. (2003). Psychological theories of religion. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Timothy Pytell
Professor at California State University
Agrees with Langer about exploitation of events
Insights and knowledge of Auschwitz suggests staying there for not three days, but months
"If truth be told, Frankl's rendition is contradictory and profoundly deceptive." (Pytell, 2001)
Full transcript