Viktor Frankl lived through problems most of us can't even imagine.
The Jewish psychiatrist from Austria was arrested with his loved ones and deported by the Germans to Nazi concentration camps, where he spent nearly four years, until the end of the war.
Of those captured, he was the only survivor in his family.
His father, mother, wife, and brother all perished.
He narrowly escaped death many times and suffered profound brutality.
During these dire times, the principal reason Frankl survived was his ability to have perspective and find meaning in the meaningless.
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others and giving away their last piece of bread.
They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that 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, to choose one's own way
―Viktor E. Frankl
At one point, even within the macabre landscape, he managed to find meaning in a single blade of grass.
That's true mastery of one's emotions and perception of the world.
Today, I'd like to share a story illustrating the power of perception from two sick patients in a hospital.
In a double-bed hospital room, two critically ill patients, Santosh and Chanchal, shared a unique bond.
They spent their time recounting stories of their past – childhood memories, school days, professions, family life, dreams, successes, and failures.
Both were confined to their beds, but each day, for one precious hour, the nurses would prop Santosh up to drain fluid from his lungs.
Positioned by the only window in the room, Santosh had the privilege of gazing outside, and often, he would describe the world to Chanchal who wasn't near the window.
Beyond the window lay an idyllic garden adorned with quaint trees, benches nestled in tranquil spots, and benches occupied by various interesting people.
In the center, a pond featured a beautiful fountain, attracting migratory birds for a refreshing bath.
The garden also boasted flower beds in full bloom, with enchanting roses, tulips, daisies, and daffodils.
As Santosh painted vivid pictures of this splendid garden, Chanchal's world brightened.
The contrast between the enchanting garden outside and the dreary, medicinal scent of the hospital ward was stark.
Chanchal eagerly awaited that one hour when he could revel in Santosh's accounts of the garden's evolving beauty.
However, one day, an evil thought crept into Chanchal's mind.
He wondered why he should be deprived of the beauty outside while he languished in his bed.
He questioned why God seemed to favor Santosh alone.
This negative thought took root and festered, gradually poisoning his mind.
Resentment grew, and Chanchal admitted to himself, "I detest him. It's so unfair!"
Chanchal's mental state deteriorated, making him increasingly intolerant of his roommate's presence.
One fateful night, Santosh was seized by a severe fit of coughing, worse than usual.
Struggling to breathe, he clutched his bedding, but couldn't summon the strength to press the emergency bell.
The logical course of action would have been for Chanchal to alert the staff, but his bitterness had festered to a point where he callously thought, "He's suffering – good! He deserves it. I loathe him."
Santosh continued to cough uncontrollably until the room fell silent.
The following morning, hospital attendants discovered his lifeless body and removed it without much ado.
Chanchal, fearing suspicion, waited for a couple of days before making a request.
He asked, "Can my bed be moved to the other side, by the window?"
The attendants agreed, and he was relocated to the window side.
The next morning, he made another request: "I'm feeling better. Can I sit up for a while?"
The nurse agreed and raised him to a sitting position.
Chanchal was eager to experience the magnificent garden that Santosh had described.
However, when he peered outside, he was stunned.
All he saw was the stark wall of a neighboring building.
Confused, he mumbled, "What is this?"
The nurse replied, "There's a large warehouse adjacent to the hospital, blocking the entire view from the window."
Perplexed, Chanchal asked, "Then what was it that my former roommate used to describe to me?"
The nurse responded with a smile, "That was the beauty of his mind."
What Santosh had chosen to see was not the reality outside his hospital window, but the loveliness within his mind.
His inner world was so beautiful that it transcended the hospital's gloomy atmosphere.
He preferred to think of beauty, serenity, harmony, and love, transforming his hospital room into a sanctuary of positivity.
Today's edition of NSP is a reminder that you also have the power to cultivate beauty within your mind and perceive the world however you'd like.
With great power comes great responsibility, so use it wisely 😊
P.S: Mustafa asked me to ask you whether you'd be interested in adding a new section to the newsletter called "Mustafa's Music" where he would share his favorite music & artists 🎶
Would you be interested in that sort of thing?
If so, please hit reply and let me know, and I can let him know!
If there's enough interest, it can be a thing.
⭐ = Mustafa's favorites
📰 News: A 21-year-old kid named Weston Soule has been charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute narcotics and the operation of a drug factory. Allegedly, he had $8.5 million worth of psychedelic mushrooms in his house in Burlington, Connecticut. More thoughts on X via @N0tSoProfound 🍄😡 — via Connecticut State Police
📰 News: Off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot, Joseph D. Emerson, attempted to shut off the plane's engines during a flight. He claimed to have been sleepless and dehydrated for 48 hours after consuming psychedelic mushrooms — via The New York Times (non-paywall) 🤦🏽♂️
📰 News + 💰 Business: Biopharmaceutical company Cybin announced their Psilocybin analog reduces depression symptoms after one dose in their latest phase 2 trial.
📰 News: A New Era of Psychedelics in Oregon, The state has pioneered a therapeutic market for psychedelic mushrooms. Researchers are watching with a mix of excitement and unease — via The New York Times (non-paywall)
🗞️ Article: A reformed UK party animal, Jack Hunt, runs psychedelic retreats and claims psychotropic drugs are "the new booze" as health-conscious individuals are choosing mushrooms over alcohol — via NY Post
🗣️ Interview: He chose to honor his mom's life with a psychedelic cartoon, Good interview with comedian Duncan Trussell about grief and the inspiration for his excellent psychedelic cartoon The Midnight Gospel — via NPR
🗞️ Article: As psychedelics near approval, there’s no consensus on how they work — via STAT News
📺 Video: Mastering the Mind with Vipassana Meditation with S.N Goenka. This is a good introduction to the power of Vipassana. I've done the free 10-day silent meditation course and would recommend you do the same. You can sign up via Dhamma.org. They fill up fast, so be sure to set up a calendar alert for 7:00 am on the day registration begins — via YouTube [54:59] ⭐
📺 Video: The Toad Venom That's Stronger Than DMT: Bufo — via VICE 🐸 [35:17]
📺 Video: Speaking of which, celebrities Eric Andre and Sean Combs mentioned they both tried 5-MeO-DMT in the form of toad venom on late-night television with Jimmy Kimmel. Pretty crazy how popular psychedelics and especially 5-MeO-DMT have become due to people like Mike Tyson & Joe Rogan talking about it non-stop.
📺 Video: What is transhumanism?, an interesting talk about Transhumanism by Albert Lin. He discusses the transformation of the human condition through enhancing human intellect and physiology with technology, He also touches on flow states and altered states of consciousness. The video is old, but considering the recent advances in AI, the content is still relevant — via YouTube [12:12]
📺 Video: Jason Silva talks about the concept of the "cyberdelic" future, a fusion of cybernetics and psychedelics, driven by human imagination and technology — via YouTube [11:45]
📺 Video: One of the best talks by Dr. Wayne Dyer on the universal principles of spirituality & the Tao along with the importance of making choices that align with your higher purpose. [1:19:57] ⭐
Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide underwater, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure.
Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks.
Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.
Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself?
For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life.
God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!
—Herman Melville, Moby Dick