Finding Free Will And Agency In … Auschwitz

Anti-Semitism,Free Will Vs. Determinism,Judaism & Jews,Left-Liberalism And Progressivisim,Psychiatry


International Holocaust Remembrance Day fell on Tuesday, yesterday, “marking the passage of 70 years since the January 27, 1945, liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet soldiers.”

After conversing with a singularly self-centered, narcissistic Jew, I thought of another, very different and magnificent man, who survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau “extermination camps where an estimated 1.1 million people—mostly Jews from across Europe, but also political opponents, prisoners of war, homosexuals, and Roma—were killed in gas chambers or by systematic starvation, forced labor, disease, or medical experiments.” (The Atlantic.)

Viktor E. Frankl came out of Auschwitz to found the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy. The philosopher and distinguished psychiatrist said this of his experience in Auschwitz: “In the camps one lost everything, except the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

To plagiarize myself, “You can see why liberals have always preferred Freud to Frankl [my family included, whether they know it or not]. They retain a totemic attachment to the Freudian idea that traumatic toilet training is destiny.”

Dr. Frankl, who lost his wife in Auschwitz, but told so poignantly of finding her again in a little chirping bird that followed him—found free will and agency in … Auschwitz too.