The below is OCEAN Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 8, Article 1 (Jan. 8, 2020) published by Russell J. Hatton & Daniel A. Wilson from the gulag in Moose Lake Minnesota.
The following was adapted for civil commitment detainees. It was inspired by pages 81-83 of Viktor E. Frankl’s, Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl survived the infamous Nazi death camp, Auschwitz:
God knows, I am not in the mood to give psychological explanations or to preach any sermons-to offer my comrades a kind of medical care of their souls. I am irritable and tired, frustrated and angry. But I have to make the effort and use this opportunity. Encouragement is now more necessary than ever.
We are not in the worst situation imaginable. What irreplaceable losses have you suffered? Whoever is still alive has reason for hope. Health, family, happiness, professional abilities, fortune, position in society-all these are things that can be achieved again or restored. Most of us still have our bones intact. Whatever we have gone through can still be an asset to us in the future. ”Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich starker. ” (That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.) What about the future? It seems hopeless. How small is your chance of survival? For me, 9 out of 731-give or take. I have no intention of giving up. No man knows what the future will bring, much less the next hour. Even if we cannot expect any sensational political events in the next few days, who knows better than we do, with our experiences, how great chances sometimes open up, quite suddenly, at least for the individual.
Imagine the past and all its joys and how its light shown even in the darkness. ”Was Du erebst, kann keine macht der welt dir rauben. ” (What you have experienced, no power on earth can take from you.) Not only our experiences, but all we have done, whatever great thoughts we may have had, and all we have suffered, all this is not lost, though it is past; we have brought it into being. Having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind.
Give life meaning. Human life, under any circumstances, never ceases to have a meaning, and that this infinite meaning of life includes suffering and dying, privation, and death. I ask this community to face the seriousness of our situation. You cannot lose hope. You should keep your courage in the certainty that the hopelessness of our struggle does not detract from its dignity and its meaning. Someone looks down on each of us in difficult hours-a friend, a wife, somebody alive or dead, or a God-and He does not expect us to disappoint Him. He would hope to find us suffering proudly-not miserably-knowing how to die.
Sacrifice has meaning in every case. The nature of this particular sacrifice seems pointless in the normal world, the world of material success. In reality, though, our sacrifice has meaning. Anyone with any sense of religious conviction can see that. We do not die for nothing.
I hope my comrades find meaning in their lives-no matter where you are. [OW)
“What you have experienced, no power on earth can take from you.” -Viktor E. Frankl