The Last of the Human Freedoms

One day, naked and alone in a small room, he began to become aware of what he later called “the last of the human freedoms” … — Stephen Covey describing Dr. Frankl’s Eureka! Moment

With his parents, his brother, and his wife already dead — victims of the lethal Nazi Regime — Dr. Viktor Frankl didn’t know whether he was going to live or die.

Two years earlier, in 1942, US President Roosevelt finally agreed to enter the World War II. The Allied Forces, lead by Great Britain’s Winston Churchill, breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Roosevelt finally gave in as a last-ditch attempt to rescue Europe from devolving into a Nazi Totalitarian Mega-State. After the war, Albert Camus — The Philosopher God who once believed life was absurd — revised his thesis. Life was absurd until evil came knocking. Then it made sense to f*ck evil up. In defense.

The world watched in shock horror as the German Blitzkrieg tidal waved across Europe. Their secret weapon: panic. The Mongols, who swept across Asia with a similar velocity 700 years prior, would have recognized — and admired — the manoeuver.

Click Me To See Nazis In Action

Causing panic is, after all, the most affordable way to win a war, especially when you’re dealing with larger opponents. ‘Panic’ comes from the name of the Greek God Pan, who caused unreasonable fear in the hearts of men and sometimes caused them to rip each other to bloody shreds.

To be a master of one’s mood’s is a privilege of the larger animals. — Camus, The Fall

Accordingly, the Mongols used panic to take down larger enemies all the time. The Tradition of Global Warfare is a series of footnotes to Sun Tzu.

In 1944, Dr. Frankl found himself without friend, without family, contemplating death in Auschwitz, where a million fellow Jews were being exterminated en masse.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

One day, naked and alone in a small room, he began to become aware of what he later called “the last of the human freedoms” — the freedom his Nazi captors could not take away. Tortured, humiliated, but not defeated, Frankl discovered an Inner Peace while imprisoned by the Nazi Death Camp machine. His Eureka! moment came when he finally recognized the difference between what he could control and what he couldn’t.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. — Viktor E. Frankl

What was this Inner Peace? What did Dr. Frankl know that his fellow prisoners (and captors) didn’t? How can we bring this Inner Peace into our own crazy lives as Startup Founders, Engineers, Designers, and Venture Capitalists? If Software is eating the world, than it’s our job to make software that will stop eating the world and start complementing humanity.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. — Viktor E. Frankl

What his captors failed to realize was that Frankl was also a Psychiatrist.

Frankl realized control his entire environment, they could do what they wanted to his body, but Viktor Frankl himself was a self-aware being who could look as an observer at his very involvement. His basic identity was intact. He could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him…

They (Frankl’s Nazi Captors) had more liberty, more options to choose from in their environment; but he had more freedom, more internal power to exercise his options. He became an inspiration to those around him, even to some of the guards. He helped others find meaning in their suffering and dignity in their prison existence…

Reactive people focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and circumstances over which they have no control. Their focus results in blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, and increased feelings of victimization. The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglect in areas they could do something about, causes their Influence to shrink.

— Steven Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

The only thing you kind of have control over (not really but kinda) is what happens in the space between your ears. And even then, what happens between your ears — in your brain — in your mind — in your memory — it’s all just a story. None of it’s True. At most, it’s true.

Unlearning What You THINK You Know

A) I honestly beleave it iz better tew know nothing than two know what ain’t so.

B) Wisdum don’t konsist in knowing more that iz new, but in knowing less that iz false.

- Josh Billings

In other words,

It ain’t what you know that gets you in trouble, it’s what you don’t know that ain’t so. — Mark Twain

In other words,

In other words,

In other words,

The Man Who Called Bullshit on AI

How do you gain Inner Peace? Meditation. Duh.

Just kidding. That’s a future lesson. For now, know that meditation doesn’t come in one form. You should be no more married to a practice than to a toothbrush. We love novelty, humans, from food to exercise to the horizontal exercise.

What You Can Control & What You Can’t Control — Business

In life and business, there are the things you can control and there are the things you can’t control.

I was the Teaching Assistant for Richardson’s International Management Course 10 years ago. Here’s the office hours. Take the One-Hour MBA. (Coming Soon)

Complexity Trillionaires

Is it possible to have inner peace without solving life’s problems, from getting a new job to Product-Market Fit? Of course not. That’s next class.

Just how difficult is it to solve Complex Problems? Peter Thiel, PayPal Co-Founder, said it best,

The biggest secret in venture capital is that the best investment in a successful fund equals or outperforms the entire rest of the fund combined. — Peter Thiel

In plain English, Peter Thiel is saying that most of the Startups a VC invests are DOOMED TO FAILURE. Startups fail, they fail all the time, and they’re going to fail even faster and more harshly in the future.

So why would anyone be insane enough to invest in a startup? The difficulty of predicting the future leaves most people believing that starting a Venture Capital Firm is a fool’s errand, a waste of time, a sure-fire way to lose all of your money.

However, a VC can make money by failing when the one success is a HUGE success. That’s why Peter Thiel believes in building monopolies. He believes that owning shares in a Startup BEFORE it becomes a Monopoly is better than owning shares in 100 competitive companies.

Those Startups who capitalize on complexity are the future. But what does complexity even mean? How do you know if your problem is actually Complex?

Is it possible to PREDICT Complex Problems Worth Solving BEFORE they happen? Absolutely. That’s next class. Go for a walk in the woods.


Q: What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told yourself?

A: I’m not depressed because dad died.

Q: You? What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told yourself?

UnicornLaunching Launches Startups Worth Launching, based out of Toronto.

Beauty is therefore an event, a process, rather than a condition or a state. The flower is not beautiful in itself; rather, beauty happens when I encounter the flower. Beauty is fleeting, and it is always imbued with otherness. For although the feeling of beauty is “subjective,” I cannot experience it at will. I can only find beauty when the object solicits me, or arouses my sense of beauty, in a certain way….A subject does not cognize the beauty of an object. Rather, the object lures the subject while remaining indifferent to it; and the subject feels the object, without knowing it or possessing it or even caring about it. The object touches me, but for my part I cannot grasp it or lay hold of it, or make it last. I cannot dispel its otherness, its alien splendor. If I could, I would no longer find it beautiful; I would, alas, merely find it useful. — Steven Shaviro, Without Criteria, Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aesthetics

The Last of the Human Freedoms was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
12/07/2018 - 03:13

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