I love Paulo Coelho. He’s one of my favorite authors. So last year I ordered his collection set and I think it came with five to six of his best books. One of those was Eleven Minutes a book about a woman from South America who becomes a prostitute due to circumstance which deeply changed my perspective on how view sex workers and the other super impactful one was Veronica Decides to Die.
Veronica decides to die is set in Slovenia I believe. It’s follows the story of a woman who decides to commit suicide by overdose. However thankfully for the readers she survives otherwise we would have no story. She wakes up in a mental ward where the rest of the story takes place.
Being that I’ve never spent any time in an insane asylum this gifted me some new perspective on things I would have otherwise never been given the chance to experience.
- The way we view our world. There’s allegory in the beginning of the book about a king who loses control of his kingdom. Everyone in his kingdom begins to drink from a well that makes them go crazy. So eventually everyone is crazy and they’re at the kings door because I guess that’s what crazy people do. So in order to maintain control of the kingdom he drinks from the well as well. Because if you can’t beat em you might as well join em right? So yeah he drinks from the well and he begins to see the world from their perspective and thus he saves the day by going crazy. Weird story right? I thought so too. Reminds me of law 38 from the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: Think As You Like But Behave Like Others.
- Ties. So living in a mental ward she has conversations with people “the outside world” would instantly write off as crazy but being the empath that Veronica is she gets to know some of these Schizophrenics. Slowly but surely she begins to see that normal is just an idea that enough people have come to agree about. Nothing more nothing less. The concept of the Tie is used when she’s talking to the Dr. Igor (the man who runs the ward) he mentions that his Tie from someone outside of our worldviews perspective would be something pointless and without reason. Think about it what exact purpose does a Tie serve outside of aesthetic? None. It’s just something we agree makes men look professional. But even the men that wear them can’t wait to take them off.
- The most impactful concept from the Veronica Decides to Die was the idea Vitriol. Better known as bitterness. However Dr. Igor contends that bitterness is more than a state of emotion but a disease of the heart. (Paulo is excellent at these diagnosis). People walk around with chips on their shoulders all day long completely immersed in their own bullshit. It’s really the state of the world we live in right now. Not everyone obviously but I’m sure we all know someone who constantly bitter or we’ve been there ourselves. Our protagonist Veronica she tries to kill herself because she sick of the world. So without spoiling the book for everyone the way they go about curing Vitriol in the book is via near death experience because everyone takes life for granted until they come face to face with death. Death makes us appreciate the life we have, the time we have, and most importantly the people we were given to spend that precious time with.