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STAN’S STUFF

Living in paradise, why think about a concentration camp?

I have been thinking about an Auschwitz Concentration camp story. It is a true story written by Viktor Frankl, one of the most influential psychotheraptists of the 20th century.

I think about it when I sit on the Whitianga wharf, when I stroll the beaches at sunset, when I lay awake in my comfortable bed.

Why? In this wonderful environment with so many friendly people there is so much to enjoy. Why spend any time or energy thinking about one of the most horrible episodes of human history.

It’s because of my need to find meaning in my life ‘now’. Frankl titled his book “Man’s Search for Meaning’.

The search for meaning in human existence is unending.  It is the number one most important human endeavor in every circumstance of life. The search for meaning is relevant for me and I suggest for all of us who in 2024 live in this Coromandel paradise,.

What is my life’s meaning NOW? Let’s imagine that you have worked hard, and raised your family, bought your dream house – if you’re lucky with a breath-taking view. What next? I mean what next for your life? Now!  What is the meaning of my life now? That question confronts all of us even those who are not aware of it.

What do I do now? What’s next? Do I sit back and admire the view until I die?

For some years I lived with an old man. His main thing was watching TV. However, he would always complain “There’s nothing on TV worth watching” but he continued to watch it until he died.

Frankl says to have a full life, a satisfying life we all must have a ‘meaning’.

Searching for that meaning in every situation of life is always a most important task. I agree. That is why I constantly search for my own ‘meaning while living in paradise.

I think this is an important question for all of us? Finding my meaning is a key to living a satisfying and fulfilling life here in the Coromandel. This is just as important for us as it was to the inmates of Auschwitz.

The concentration camp that Frankl writes about is really about life with the volume turned up 1000%.

At its core, the life and death situations that the prisoners face are not that dissimilar to the issues in our beachside paradise.

By observing how individuals wrestled with the question of the meaning of their life in that horrific situation can be of surprising help to those of us lucky enough to live out our life here in paradise. But believe me – the presence or absence of ‘meaning’ can be a life and death question for all of us.

I have heard that some people feel it’s not appropriate for me to be drawing attention to a ‘Jewish’ text at this time. The horrors of the Gaza strip confront us every time we view international news. The right and wrong of this catastrophe are debated on the world stage and can generate heated debate in every community, including ours. My point is simply this. The book is about the ‘truth’ of the human condition.

It deals with issues that are key to a person surviving/coping in any situation. It is not about politics or world forces. It is about helping individuals one at a time of all nations, tribes, ethnicities to find reasons to keep on living and to find their unique contribution whatever their situation.

I have heard that some individuals suggest that because the author is ‘Jewish’ it must be somehow tainted.

I find any such suggestion despicable. Think of the contribution of Jewish people to science, music, philosophy, medicine, physiciatry and all of the arts. We have all benefited and continue to benefit from the industry and creativity of this people. I need say no more.

I intend to produce my play on ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ as an acted reading in Whitianga. Details as to when and where are still to be finalized however, it looks likely that the production will be close to ANZAC Day. I am recruiting readers right now and my need is for men to read short parts.

‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ has sold over 17 million copies. In the USA the Library of Congress rates it as one of the ten most influential books in the US. Copies of the book can be purchased at Whitianga Paper Plus. The illustration of the bird associated with this article, relates to Frankl’s observation that there was beauty even in the camp. He was referring to the small birds which at times perched on the electrified fence.

 |  Stan Stewart  | 
Man's Search For Meaning
A true story written by Viktor Frankl

I have been thinking about an Auschwitz Concentration camp story. It is a true story written by Viktor Frankl, one of the most influential psychotheraptists of the 20th century.

I think about it when I sit on the Whitianga wharf, when I stroll the beaches at sunset, when I lay awake in my comfortable bed.

Why? In this wonderful environment with so many friendly people there is so much to enjoy. Why spend any time or energy thinking about one of the most horrible episodes of human history.

It’s because of my need to find meaning in my life ‘now’. Frankl titled his book “Man’s Search for Meaning’.

The search for meaning in human existence is unending.  It is the number one most important human endeavor in every circumstance of life. The search for meaning is relevant for me and I suggest for all of us who in 2024 live in this Coromandel paradise,.

What is my life’s meaning NOW? Let’s imagine that you have worked hard, and raised your family, bought your dream house – if you’re lucky with a breath-taking view. What next? I mean what next for your life? Now!  What is the meaning of my life now? That question confronts all of us even those who are not aware of it.

What do I do now? What’s next? Do I sit back and admire the view until I die?

For some years I lived with an old man. His main thing was watching TV. However, he would always complain “There’s nothing on TV worth watching” but he continued to watch it until he died.

Frankl says to have a full life, a satisfying life we all must have a ‘meaning’.

Searching for that meaning in every situation of life is always a most important task. I agree. That is why I constantly search for my own ‘meaning while living in paradise.

I think this is an important question for all of us? Finding my meaning is a key to living a satisfying and fulfilling life here in the Coromandel. This is just as important for us as it was to the inmates of Auschwitz.

The concentration camp that Frankl writes about is really about life with the volume turned up 1000%.

At its core, the life and death situations that the prisoners face are not that dissimilar to the issues in our beachside paradise.

By observing how individuals wrestled with the question of the meaning of their life in that horrific situation can be of surprising help to those of us lucky enough to live out our life here in paradise. But believe me – the presence or absence of ‘meaning’ can be a life and death question for all of us.

I have heard that some people feel it’s not appropriate for me to be drawing attention to a ‘Jewish’ text at this time. The horrors of the Gaza strip confront us every time we view international news. The right and wrong of this catastrophe are debated on the world stage and can generate heated debate in every community, including ours. My point is simply this. The book is about the ‘truth’ of the human condition.

It deals with issues that are key to a person surviving/coping in any situation. It is not about politics or world forces. It is about helping individuals one at a time of all nations, tribes, ethnicities to find reasons to keep on living and to find their unique contribution whatever their situation.

I have heard that some individuals suggest that because the author is ‘Jewish’ it must be somehow tainted.

I find any such suggestion despicable. Think of the contribution of Jewish people to science, music, philosophy, medicine, physiciatry and all of the arts. We have all benefited and continue to benefit from the industry and creativity of this people. I need say no more.

I intend to produce my play on ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ as an acted reading in Whitianga. Details as to when and where are still to be finalized however, it looks likely that the production will be close to ANZAC Day. I am recruiting readers right now and my need is for men to read short parts.

‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ has sold over 17 million copies. In the USA the Library of Congress rates it as one of the ten most influential books in the US. Copies of the book can be purchased at Whitianga Paper Plus. The illustration of the bird associated with this article, relates to Frankl’s observation that there was beauty even in the camp. He was referring to the small birds which at times perched on the electrified fence.