THE ALCHEMIST – PAULO COELHO

Those who lost the meaning of their life, shall find this book as a wonderful instructor than nothing else.


Under the view of outsiders, the life of a shepherd is a monotonic picture. It is a full boring circle of sequence of actions repeated day by day, where the flock of sheep are herded to the pools and fields in the morning, feed there, and herded back to a random shelter to stay at night. Fortunately Santiago, the shepherd, does not suffer from this and sees thing in different lens, in fact the most exciting one, because he chose to do this job, not otherwise. He refuses a stable place in his family farm to become a shepherd, to explore the word, to go further than any farmers in his village have ever been, to go further than any shepherds in Andalusia have ever been. This story, which may start earlier than it is written, is about the adventure of a shepherd searching for his treasure from Spain to Egypt, which in turn a big metaphor for every life on this Earth.

The first question aroused in mind when men know to perceive, is no other than “What is the meaning of life? Why do I exist?”. The book did not provide an explicit explanation, but imply that human each once has his own destiny, it may change, but never vanish. The fault is that human finds excuses in his life, easily satisfies with temporal happiness, rather than follows his heart to the end of the road. I know it is true, because I can reflex myself in that. What I would become, if I let the suffering in high school continue to university. What I would become, if I have no good companions with me in recent years, to assist me when I need them most, and sharing their thought about me. What I would become, if I have no will in dark days to overcome, and let them whispering in my ears every single night.

I, who has no doubt about my foolishness, eyewitness my foot step overlaps with trace of the boy in that desert. He reminds me of the unnumbered card in Tarot, the Fool, who sometimes is described as a boy, beggar, pilgrimage, starts his journey with unlimited potential.

No specific God was named, people in the story put their trust in one Hand, the Hand which creates things and has already know the destinies of every being. Hand uses omens to guide people to their destinies, but merely a few recognize and follow it to the end. I am not talking about religions if you think so, I am talking about a universal rule, which apply to even Science: “If you are passionate about one goal, and fighting restlessly for it, only better result will come.”

The boy and his companions are ordinary people, has emotion and need three meals a day to survive. But they are born with one more gift, which is identifying good omens. When losing all his money from selling the sheep on the first day of his journey, the boy asked two stones called Urim and Thummim whether he still found his treasure. Two stones dropped out of the pocket. Instead asking again, he realized all his decisions must be made by himself, and he happily went to the market to look for a job.

I know this is still vague and unconvincing. What I meant to say is, people seeing opportunity to their dream, but they refuse to follow. The boy knows when you start something new, the Theory of Favoritism will support you, but you need to prepare when the luck runs out. The English man, who looked for the Alchemist to learn turning lead into gold, took 10 years to know he must not fear to fail, is the first essential step in making Master Work. Fatima, the woman of desert, taught us that true love is not the one preventing you away from your destiny, but support and await for your return. By all will, courage, consistence and trust, one could left temporal enticement beside, spreads his wings, wins the trophy, and enjoy the best treasure of life.

I feel myself against the lesson (this book has plentiful of valuable lessons) I have just learned, by complicating things originally simple. If you have time, grab this book in nearby bookstore and see it by yourself. I have to admit this post is now quite away from my first intention, which is only  introducing why this book is interesting and needed for everyone, no matter what you do. But I do hope it is interesting enough to make you feel the urge to read it.

Let me end this by telling  one story about the crystal shop owner:

Crystal shop owner is a Muslim, who strictly follows obligations in Koran. One out of five obligations he can never make is that every Muslim must be a pilgrimage, which means at least once in his life, he must visit the holy city of Mecca. When he was young, he was afraid of not having enough money to live, despite seeing many poorer people achieved that. When he was rich, he was afraid that he could not trust anyone to take care of his precious shop. When he was richer and had reliable servants, he only wanted it to be a dream, because he was afraid that it would not be beautiful and satisfied as he expected.

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