Survival In Life Threatening Conditions Essay

1488 WordsNov 6, 20086 Pages
Various psychologists and researchers have theorized about which qualities keep people alive in life-threatening conditions. Some researchers found that there are certain psychological factors, personality traits, responsibilities, and motivations to survive that prevent people from “letting go.” Others have found that it is sheer luck that keeps a person alive in deadly situations. There are many distinctive qualities and motivations proven to help one survive life or death situations. The Holocaust, a deadly event in history, has made the topic of survival a prominent issue in our society. Viktor Frankl, a psychologist and holocaust survivor himself, proved his main philosophy of Logotherapy saying that one could live only for as long as one’s life has meaning (The Belief Engine). Frankl confirmed his theory when he observed that those who survived the concentration camps were those with a reason to live (Logotherapy In a Nutshell). Frankl lived by Nietzsche’s words, “he who has a why to live for can bare with almost any how.” He believed that if people could find a meaning in their sufferings, and even probable death, that they could survive any situation. At the time, it was demonstrated that prisoners who allowed themselves to be overwhelmed by despair, who gave up their freedom to make decisions, suffered from paralytic apathy and depression (Baker). Frankl’s observations prove that a path to survival is in pursuing one’s life, past, future, and family. Walden 2 In life-threatening situations, victims occasionally feel a moral obligation to stay alive in order to ensure the well being of their family. In the Holocaust memoir Night, by Elie Wiesel, young Eliezer finds that the only thing keeping him alive is his love and concern for his weak, sickly father (Maas). For example, on the death march to Gleiwitz, Eliezer says, “My father’s presence was the only

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