Towards the Difficult & the Rare

“in the filth of Auschwitz … people unmasked themselves, both the swine and the saints. And today you need no longer hesitate to use the word ‘saints’: think of Father Maximilian Kolbe who was starved and finally murdered by an injection of carbolic acid at Auschwitz and who in 1983 was canonized.

You may be prone to blame me for invoking examples that are the exceptions to the rule. ‘But everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find’ reads the last sentence of the Ethics of Spinoza. You may of course ask whether we really need to refer to ‘saints.’ Wouldn’t it suffice just to refer to decent people? It is true that they form a minority. More than that, they always will remain a minority. And yet I see therein the very challenge to join the minority. For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.

So let us be alert – alert in a twofold sense:

Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.

And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.”

Viktor E. Frankl. “Man’s Search for Meaning. An Introduction to Logotherapy.” ed 3, Simon & Schuster, NY, 1984.

“In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.” Teilhard de Chardin

Dr. Viktor Frankl interviewed by Roy Bonisteel of CBC television's Man Alive:

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