“I will give you two minutes and I shall time you by my watch. In these two minutes you will get fully undressed and drop everything on the floor where you me standing. You will take nothing with you except your shoes, your belt, or suspenders, and possibly a truss… w/ unthinkable hast people tore off their clothers. As the time grew shorter they became increasingly nervous and pulled at their underwear belts and shoelaces. Then we heard the sounds of whipping, leather straps beating down on naked bodies.
Next we were hearded into another room to be shaved…not a hair was left on our entire bodies. While we were waiting for the shower, our nakedness was brought home to us:
We really had nothing now excpet our bare bodies – even minus hair; all we possessed, literally, was our naked existence.”
Viktor Frankl goes on to discribe in “Mans Search For Meaning” a harrowing and revealing tale of how the time in various Nazi concentration camps sought to erase all sence of identity, hope and meaning from the lives of its inhabitants.
But some managed to hang on to meaning, and maintain a sense of identity that lay outside the grasp of the material.
What would you truly have if that was you who stepped into that shower? Who would you really be?
Without the smart phone, clothes, car, house, job title, or ROTH IRA.
Nothing left to lose.
Would there a reason..a point…in continuing on? Would your life still have meaning?
Or would it take losing family, friends, and love itself…to call it a day.
I know…it’s just a thought experiment. One that those who actually endured the harrowing stretch of cold tortuous nights in Austwhich, were not afforded. Or for that matter anyone who has had to confront the cold sting…that scratching for any bit of existence brings…The wrestling with the point of it all.
Some see their personal hells lived on earth as forshadowings of some biblical idea of hell to come. To others, who’s very breathing keep the tempo on a symphony of nightmares…this is the only hell they know…or can imagine they will ever know.
Haiti. Rwanda. Hiroshima. New Orleans.
Many have… in their various ways…Lost it all. Some…gaining truer things in the wake of devastation. Others deciding that meaning has left the building.
What hope, or sense of meaning could you have that would burn through the darkest night? When it is just you and the air pushing into your waiting lungs. When we figure that out…well..