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by Amanda
Rated: E · Essay · Educational · #2067730
An essay for one of my philosphy classes in college.
         Viktor Frankl uses a philosophy he calls logotherapy. Frankl considers logotherapy as a mix between existentialism and psychoanalysis, but not Marxism. Marxism uses philosophies based on socio and economic relations to create and further man. Sartre was an existentialist who believed in man having two forms or states of being. Freud uses psychoanalysis by putting emphasis on the early childhood as the developmental catalyst of one's end product. Each philosopher had ideas that overlaid each other's and yet each had unique beliefs that were characteristic to only their personal philosophies and no one else's. Frankl had influences of some of these philosopher's, but like each of them, created a perspective that was strictly his own.
         Karl Marx is well known for his influences in communist and socialist societies. Marx's belief was that the economic and societal impacts are what make a person they way they are. Marx was a strong believer in outside influences and the pressures society puts on man that influence how that person ends up. "Marx tended to say that legal and political systems were in the hands of the capitalists, who controlled the economic processes of production." (Stevenson, p.168) Marx's focus on economic infrastructure is what makes Frankl so unlike him. Frankl did not focus on economic effects on man but instead believed that man had the ability to overcome capitalist and communist influences by being who he strived to be. "It is, therefore, up to the patient to decide whether he should interpret his life task as being responsible to society or to his own coconscious." (Frankl, p. 110) I would like to think that Frankl is more persuasive, but due to the weak will of many people today and the places in which economic standards place us, Marx is probably more correct on this subject. The best examples are seen all over the place, now, where formal middle class people are homeless or living in sad circumstances because of the economy and they are then living a very different lifestyle. Lower class sufferes from petty criminal activity, drug and alcohol abuse, and other issues due to the poor state of their home, clothes, and life all together. A person can be changed by a change in class, and this I have witnessed for myself.
         Sartre does not believe in human nature as a whole. "This typical existentialist rejection of generalizations about human beings and human lives." (Stevenson, p. 186) Sartre believes that only the basic biological necessities are comparable of our species because of the uniqueness of each and every human being. He also believes "that the only foundation for values lies in our own choices" and that there is not a god to set example or to fall back upon. (Stevenson, p. 186) Frankl also believes that man's choice in life is what makes him and not an outside force. "Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.......Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary." (Frankl, p. 131) Both men believe in the ultimate uniqueness of man and each of his choices creating him as the person he is. I agree with both philosophies. The path is difficult, but change is always possible. I do not think there is a predetermination for any one person and with the willingness to change in any capacity, it can be done.
         Freud focuses on the early childhood and developmental stages of a person as what creates the end product. Freud also believes in conscious and unconscious states of being. "The thought of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) can be described as an attempt to put psychology on a biological basis." (Stevenson, p. 220) "Freud claimed that all human striving is ultimately motivated by hunger and love (sexual desire, that is)." (Stevenson, p. 244) Frankl does not focus on biology as exstensively as Freud. In fact, Frankl believed that "Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality." (Frankl, p. 111) Frankl, unlike Freud's focus on the sexuality of human interaction, believed in love and the effects that such a neurological state could have on a person. on pages 37-39 of Frankl's book, he describes a scenario in which the memory of his wife and the love they shared strengthens him and gives him bliss in a moment were emotion has long since vacated the men. Freud saw a biological response of lust and sexual desire as what love was but Frankl expressed a deeper contentment and calm on a neurological scale that completed him in thoughts of love that did not bring about sexual desires, per se. Frankl had a much more logical and neurologically responsive idea for human behavior. Regardless of upbringing, Frankl believed a person could always change (see quote on page three of Frankl's passage from p. 131 of his book on the willingness of man to make changes.). Frankl, then, did not follow the same concepts of Freud in this regard. I, personally, believe both men had a fragment of truth to their beliefs. I do agree that upbringing and childhood has a major impact on a person's outcome in life. For love, though, and such human connective emotions, I think it is variable whether or not sexual attraction is the only aspect to the love. I do not believe, in all honesty, that I ever had a sexual feeling for my blood-related family, and yet I did love them. I even was repulsed by the advances of a distant cousin (perhaps third or more) because of the very fact that we were related caused me to find no sexual attraction. My husband, though, gives me both sexual attraction and a different connection on a mental level.
         Frankl, like many philosophers and thinkers before him, has a unique view on life and the development of a person and their eventual outcome. I do not think Frankl has Marxist ideas, yet they do share some basic and strong foundations in their beliefs. Frankl and Freud differ on the level of human response, emotion, and development in that Freud sees these things as strictly biological whereas Frankl sees neurological differences and the ability to create your own future based on personal decisions. Sartre and Frankl have the most in common with their ideas and philosophies. Both men believe in the individuality that each person stands for. The idea that each person has their own decisions to make making a unique life along the way. I feel that I can be persuaded by many of these men, and yet not by all of their beliefs. I find myself picking and choosing snippets of their different philosophies in order to create my own. Frankl is a unique man and came to many of his conclusion by being placed in an extraordinary situation. Many of his personal beliefs are based on what he saw of men in extreme circumstances. By having the perspective that he received, he is not likely to agree with many previous philosopher's on all of their opinions. As Frankl stated, "An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior." (Frankl, p. 20) Frankl was placed in a very abnormal situation and still was able to observe his situation from a clinical perspective at times, enough to formulate his own philosophies on human nature. Without that same person, with the same life lessons and final situation, one cannot replicate his exact beliefs.


Frankl, V. (1984) Man's Search for Meaning (3rd ed.). New York: Pocket Books.
Stevenson, L., & Haberman, D. (2004) Ten Theories of Human Nature (4th ed.). New York:
         Oxford University Press.

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