Sunday, November 22, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Experiences in a Concentration Camp II"

The prisoner who had lost faith in the future - his future - was doomed.

With the loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay. Usually this happened quite suddenly, in the form of a crisis, the symptoms of which were familiar to the experienced camp inmate. We all feared this moment - not for ourselves, which would have been pointless, but for our friends. Usually it began with the prisoner refusing one morning to get dressed and wash or to go out on the parade grounds. No entreaties, no blows, no threats had any effect. He just lay there, hardly moving. If this crisis was brought about by an illness, he refused to be taken to the sick-bay or to do anything to help himself. He simply gave up. There he remained, lying in his own excreta, and nothing bothered him anymore.

Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Experiences in a Concentration Camp"

I once had a dramatic demonstration of the close link between the loss of faith in the future and this dangerous giving up. F___, my senior block warden, a fairly well-known composer and librettist, confided in me one day.

"I would like to tell you something. I have had a strange dream. A voice told me that I could wish for something, that I should only say what I wanted to know, and all my questions would be answered. What do you think I asked? That I would like to know when the war would be over for me. You know what I mean, for me! I wanted to know when we, when our camp, would be liberated and our sufferings come to an end."

"And when did you have this dream?" I asked.

"In February, 1945," he answered. It was then the begining of March.

"What did your dream voice answer?"

Furtively he whispered to me, "March thirtieth."

When F____ told me about his dream, he was still full of hope and convinced that the voice of his dream would be right. But as the promised day drew nearer, the war news which reached our camp made it appear very unlikely that we would be free on the promised date. On March twenty-ninth, F____ suddenly became ill and ran a high temperature. On March thirtieth, the day his prophecy had told him that the war and suffering would be over for him, he became delirious and lost consciousness. On March thirty-first, he was dead. To all outward appearances, he had died of typhus.

Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p. 83.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

All the best for tomorrow and tomorrow

Daniel, as requested. Here are some important reminders:

  1. Start each question on a fresh page.
  2. Write the question number.
  3. Read the question carefully.
  4. Read the sources perceptively.
  5. Answer to the question you are asked.
  6. Write legibly.
  7. Manage your time. Don't overdo the first question.
  8. Don't forsake the SEQ L5. Don't write excessively either.
  9. Give evidence and examples. Show that you have studied.
  10. Sleep early tonight.