Mans search for breakfast
The bakery near my house where we have breakfast is closed for renovations until February. This is an unmitigated disaster in my life that has derailed my entire day/week… possibly even my month. As opening paragraphs go, does that sound petulant enough?
I didn’t get much reading done these past few weeks, despite lugging a veritable library of books along with me. I was… eh… optimistic. There were holidays where me and my wife (pre-breeding) would go down to the coast and curl up by the fire… especially if it was stormy and miserable and just read. We likely only ventured outside to seek nourishment and coffee. The rest of the time was spent in blissful solitude.
Of course now that we have procreated and unleashed upon our tiny perfect island a Hurricane and a category four topical storm, trifling things like free time have been smashed against a brick wall and then been viciously decapitated with an airborne sheet of corrugated iron.
I have never read Man’s search for Meaning. Which is a point of personal embarrassment because I continuously quote Victor E. Frankl. And Heart of Darkness… well… I was always of the mind that since I’d watched Apocalypse Now, the movie based on the book, it was going to be somewhat superfluous experience.
Both books are only about 150 pages long. Which, with my internet addled mind, is actually the perfect length for me. More authors should take the short and pointed approach to their writing. Looking at you JRR Tolkein and Eiji Yoshikawa.
I really liked Man’s search for meaning. (There is a caveat that I will get to in a moment). I supplemented my suffering-porn by re-reading Magneto Testament, which is a comic book I recommend to almost everyone. (It’s that brilliant).
There is one issue I had with Victor E. Frankls seminal work. Well… maybe not so much with the book as with the author. This only happened a couple of days after reading it. I goggled Dr. Frankls wife to see how she had died. (it is supposed she was most likely worked to death in a shoe factory) and I got sucked into the wiki-rabbit-hole. One of the… I don’t want to necessarily call it controversial… but let’s say… um… deceptive… well… kinda.
The book is written very much in a way that the reader is led to believe that Frankl spent a significant part of his time at Auschwitz. Which simply isn’t true. I certainly fell for that little piece of… its not quite dishonesty… but I felt lied to. Which made me briefly flare into annoyance.
Frankl only passed through Auschwitz has part of a movement of slave labor. He was never registered there, and likely never entered that death-camp at all and was kept in a separate holding area near to the trains…. potentially for only a couple of days before being transferred to Kaufering III which was a subsidiary of Dachau.
I don’t know why he did that. Maybe it was the morbid celebrity status of Auschwitz. But the deception was quite markedly there. And that pissed me off a bit.
Also, something else I didn’t know, is that Frankl was allowed to experiment on other Jewish prisoners who had tried to commit suicide, and despite not having any (real) medical training, he would attempt inject amphetamines into the brains of these individuals. I don’t know how I feel about that. Ethically that’s a dark place to tread.
All this is not to take away anything from the insane hardship suffered by Victor Frankl and indeed everyone trapped in the extermination machinery. And there is massive value in reading this book. I just wish I’d stopped there. I want my paragons to be perfect and blemish free.
In any event I get grouchy when I can’t eat eggs on rye on a Sunday. I don’t have to march six miles in the snow to dig a trench for 12hrs dressed in rags with my nutrition for the day being a cup over watery soup and a piece of bread. My feet and legs are not so swollen with edema that I can barely get my wet shoes on. I am not covered in lice and sores. I didn’t sleep on a wooden plank next to nine other emaciated slaves. If I tripped and fell I am not beaten mercilessly with a rifle butt. If I get too weak to work I won’t be killed and burned. If everyone I ever knew and loved was already dead… I don’t think I would have the will to carry on. Day after day after day after day.
It puts things into perspective. At least for a little while. Until someone cuts me off in traffic or I have to queue for coffee. God my life is so fucken hard. Why is nothing going right for me today?