Freedom To Choose

…the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Viktor Frankl

As a youngster I kept a book of quotes. I called it my Book of Wisdom. This is one I found and remember even now: We would do well to remember we live in the presence of constant choice. But that we would remember… Ah?

This is for the family I stayed with last night. It is not my attempt to teach more a way of acknowledging there collective wisdom. May you all go well and safely.

It’s worth following that link to Viktor Frankl. He lived an inspired life and helped many who were in extreme circumstances.

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7 thoughts on “Freedom To Choose”

  1. I have only recently discovered Viktor Frankl. He survived Auschwitz and later became a psychotherapist.

    In his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ he explains that after everything else has been taken away – home, loved ones, clothes – the thing remaining is the ability to decide what attitude to take to one’s fate.

    “the mental reactions of the inmates of a concentration camp must seem more to us than the mere expression of certain physical and sociological conditions. Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him – mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp.”

  2. Viktor Frankl again on the comparison of individual suffering being pointless –

    “a man’s suffering is similar to the behaviour of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber.Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

  3. Hi Angie,
    Seems a few readers have recently discovered or rediscovered the life and work of Viktor Frankl. I have not, as yet, read that much however what I see rings true.

  4. Well that’s certainly interesting. And as we say in the first of the four noble truths. Suffering exists…

  5. the four truths are truths _together_ – and at the same time. People in extreme situations quite often can make the leap to see this, and know this. Interesting

  6. I first read Man’s Search for Meaning when I began teaching in the most recent kalpa. What I remember, and have called upon many times, is his assertion that he found his greatest freedom in the concentration camp. I liked what all that entailed, then and now.

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