I finished this book a bit more than a week ago. It is quite short but very dense in meaning. I didnt know it was from a Holocaust survivor and he was a psychiatrist. The first parts is mainly about his experience in the concentration camps. It is not gory in details. It is detailed in his mindset and psychology of the prisioners. It is amazing how in the most extreme circumstances (this is real stress), human beings can survive (by a thin line though). And as well, luck. He mentions the three phases of a prisoner: admission (shock), camp routine (brutality, gave up, apathy) and release (another shock, as your reason for meaning can be non-existing… family gone, society gone, etc)
It is a book I need to read again.
I have some notes:
Existentialism: To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering. That is for me, it is Buddhism. And each man/woman needs to find its own.
The last human of human freedoms is the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances. It is like stoicism.
Nietzsche: He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.
It is hope, it is meaning.
It is not what we expect from life but rather what life expects from us. Our answer must consist in right action and right conduct. Again, like stoicism.
And sometimes, you just have to accept fate and bear your cross.
Man needs tension, can’t thrive in tensionless state and find meaning in life.
“Sunday neurosis” – kind of depression happens at the end of a (busy) week and during the free time you notice the lack of meaning that you can’t ignore – existential vacuum. This happened to me for many years, mainly during my first job. Then in UK, studying for certifications the first years and afterwards, climbing on Sunday cleared that feeling. It was the first time I felt at peace before starting a new week.