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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Dr. Victor E. Frankl:

"Dr. J., a Mephistophelean
being, a Satanic figure,
the mass-murderer of Steinhof”



return to the main-page article on "Satan" 



Preview and Summary: Great "satanic figures" will get away with nothing, will suffer far more than average, and will "pay the last penny"; that acknowledged, however, every person can, and will, be redeemed from the Evil within.



An excerpt from Dr. Victor E. Frankl's "Man's Search For Meaning": 

It is apparent that the mere knowledge that a man was either a camp guard or a prisoner tells us almost nothing. Let me cite the case of Dr. J. [Dr. Erwin Jekelius]. He was the only man I ever encountered in my whole life that I would dare to call a Mephistophelean being, a satanic figure. At that time he was generally called “the mass-murderer of Steinhof” [mental hospital in Vienna].

When the Nazis started their euthanasia program, he held all the strings in his hands and was so fanatic in the job assigned to him that he tried not to let one single psychotic individual escape the gas chamber. After the war, when I came back to Vienna, I asked what had happened to Dr. J. “He had been imprisoned by the Russians in one of the isolations cells at Steinhof,” they told me. “The next day however, the door of his cell stood open and Dr. J. was never seen again.” Later I was convinced that, like others, he had with the help of his comrades made his way to South America.

More recently, however, I was consulted by a former Austrian diplomat who had been imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain for many years, first in Siberia and then in the famous Lubianka prison in Moscow. While I was examining him neurologically, he suddenly asked me whether I happened to know Dr. J. After my affirmative reply he continued: “I made his acquaintance in Lubianka. There he died, at about the age of forty, from cancer of the urinary bladder. Before he died, however, he showed himself to be the best comrade you can imagine! He gave consolation to everybody. He lived up to the highest conceivable moral standard. He was the best friend I ever met during my long years in Prison!”

This is the story of Dr.J., “the mass-murderer of Steinhof.” How can we dare to predict the behavior of man?


Dr. Frankl's account serves as object lesson for the words of Jesus, "Call no man Raca!"; that is, "worthless person," one as damned, incorrigible, irretrievably perverted. There is hope for all.


attitudinal heroism


"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, [even in the concentration camp,] to choose one's own way."

Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning




I have stated, and the great teachers confirm, in every human being resides the seeds of Evil; every human being suffers tutelage of the Small Ego; every human being, if sufficiently provoked, without spiritual awareness, in the right circumstances, is capable of any crime, any atrocity, ever committed in history. This is the unpleasant truth.


'we are the world, we are society'

Very often, Krishnamurti would caution his audiences against blaming others, seeing ourselves as "above." It's not easy to stand down as there’s much aspersion to cast. Right now, we witness the world marching toward totalitarianism, to a degree not seen since the days prior to World War II. Many of us are angry, and we want to believe that if we could just get rid of “the bad guys,” the ones causing all the trouble, then life would be good for all of us “good guys.” But this is illusion.

The seeds of evil, not always unsprouted, reside within each of us. If sufficiently provoked, if blinded to the light within, each person is capable of any atrocity, any brutality, and more, that we’ve seen in history.

the seeds of evil

Star Trek: Next Generation, episode "Violations"

"No one can deny that the seeds of violence remain within each of us. We must recognize that - because that violence is capable of consuming each of us."

In other words, “We are the world. We are society.” We are not exempt, as we too reflect the human condition, and we take the vectors of perdition with us wherever we go. And until we learn to “go within” to access the inner light, there will be no peace and happiness; not on an individual basis nor for the world.

See the Krishnamurti page and especially his "summary" discourse.



  • Editor's note: The avenue of human development is a two-lane highway - it runs both ways. Our godlike potential is more than vast. Father Benson likes to remind us that our capacity for advancement knows "no discernable upward limit"! However, if we choose to, we might descend into the lowest depths of depravity.


There are some who, in that spirit of vengeful "Raca," bitterly criticize Dr. Frankl: "How could he be so heartless, after all he suffered, to so easily exonerate Dr. J!"

First of all, let's keep in mind, no one gets away with anything. On the other side - and even in one's spirit here in our world - there is strict justice; everyone will "pay the last penny" owed for every misdeed. It is quite possible, despite Dr. J.'s apparent repentance, given the level of extreme atrocity in which he participated, that he will spend considerable time in a place less accommodating than Summerland, before his level of internal light has reached sufficient luminosity, allowing him a better world. With the blood of multitudinous murders on his hands, there will be no easy exoneration, no quick smile-and-handshake to absolve; he will be laboring to compensate his victims for a great many years to come, and even personally reliving, in gory detail, their horrors!

  • Editor's note: The spirit of Raca bespeaks, "I would never have done that. I am not like other men. What you did is a special kind of depravity." But this is all illusion. As Hitler and his men frequently serve as posterboys for ultimate Evil, I must point out that millions of ordinary Germans supported Hitler in his policies. The Nazis could not have done what they did without the backing of large numbers - these were ordinary people. But here's the epicenter of the unsettling truth: German society was the most cultivated and cultured, the best educated and most sophisticated - from that day to this - the world has ever seen! Never in the history - certainly not since ancient Greece - had so many intellectual and artistic luminaries dominated: Beethoven, Brahms, and Bach; Einstein, Mach, and Braun; Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Kant - we could go on for some time here. Germany was the most advanced society the world had ever seen. And to suggest that what happened there could never happen elsewhere or in the United States - here, in our "dumbed-down" educational system - is just wishful shallow-thinking, a dysfunctional denial of the seeds of Evil that reside in the dark quarters of every human heart.



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