Words of Wisdom

12 December 2016

Words of Wisdom The Alchemist Words of Wisdom Words can have a significant impact in one’s life; it can serve as the greatest happiness or one’s greatest burden. In the novel The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, words of wisdom act as a comforting force that gives admonition to those in need of it. “The hand that wrote it all,” illustrates a mysterious force that compels Santiago to follow his dreams and pursue his greatest happiness; to travel without limits.

Furthermore, the importance of maintaining balance allows Santiago to take notice of the world and acknowledge all of its omens. The eminence of trusting the heart’s wishes, and having the courage to follow those dreams and act upon it, takes a grand toll as one of the most heartfelt passages within Santiago’s journey. As Santiago makes his way to his Personal Legend, words of wisdom inspires him to follow his dreams, listen to his heart and take notice of all the little things in life to maintain balance in all that he does.

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Maktub is a simple yet memorable phrase that has contributed to Santiago’s pursuit of his Personal Legend. It is a simple phrase that allows Santiago to understand that everyone is created by the same hand and that there is a universal language that could be understood without the need for words. Maktub evokes a theory that God has a plan for all living things; that everything happens for a specific reason. Often “we are afraid of losing what we have, whether it‘s our life or our possessions and property.

But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the histories of the world were written by the same hand” (Coelho 78). It becomes evident that with the presence of God in Santiago’s life, he is comforted with the knowledge that despite the suffering, God will not abandon him. He begins to understand that “all things are one” (Coelho 46) and somehow, all souls are intertwined and connected in a way that is unimaginable or that cannot be explained.

A prominent example was when Santiago fell in love with Fatima, the woman of the desert. “There [was] only that moment and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world” (Coelho 95). It is his sense of intuition, the ability to understand another without the need for words, which leads Santiago to recognize that he was destined to be with Fatima. The hand that wrote it all”, allows Santiago to see that there is a mysterious force guiding him along his journey; however, it is him that makes the decisions that determines the outcome. To acknowledge and appreciate the world’s wonders without failing to remember our roots, is a given gift that that one must obtain to fully grasp the full meaning of happiness. As Santiago embarks on his journey, he came upon an abrupt encounter with a mysterious man that called himself the King of Salem.

As this man tells Santiago about the fable of the “oil and the spoon”, Santiago discovers that the moral of the story has much in relation to himself. It carries a message that “the secret to happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon” (Coelho 34). The depth of these words carry an inevitable message that although admiring the beauty of the world and recognizing God’s presence within it is truly essential, Santiago must not allow his origin escape from his memory.

He becomes aware of the fact that he must not dwell too much on the past and that “he [cannot] be hasty, nor impatient. [That] if he [pushes] forward impulsively, he [could] fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path” (Coelho 91). The advice of the seer reinforces this idea, for he believes that, “the secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve on it. And if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better” (Coelho 104).

Along with this lesson, Santiago acknowledges the fact that the present is something to be treasured and to be viewed precious for it carries life’s inner beauty. To continue on his journey, Santiago maintains balance in all that he does, whether it is to pursue his dream without forgetting who he is, or to appreciate one’s present. Listening to one’s heart becomes one of life’s greatest lessons towards the end of the novel. It is a task that is proven to be hard to accomplish due to the fact that the perpetual enemy that goes against the idea of listening to one’s heart is rationalization.

Santiago experiences this agitation as he exclaims that “[his] heart is a traitor” (Coelho 130) for the fact that although he wants to continue his Personal Legend, a part of himself is “afraid that, in pursuing [his] dream, [he] might lose everything [he has] won” (Coelho 130). This part of Santiago is his logic; the part of himself where he superficially creates reasons for himself and eventually making it so that “there is only one thing that makes a dream impossible: the fear of failure” (Coelho 143).

Santiago fails to realize that the first glimpse of what he desires is usually the right one, and that the later ones are usually polluted with reason. The alchemist advises him to “tell [his] heart that the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and the eternity” (Coelho 132). Santiago obtains the knowledge that no happiness can be achieved without having to face challenges in one life.

He grows to understand that although it is difficult to listen to the heart, without the mind the interfering, the heart “knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there” (Coelho 129). The alchemist explains the fact that the heart is a gift itself from God for it teaches one how to love and be loved, therefore it understands one’s innermost thoughts best. With Santiago’s development as a character, he soon learns to trust his heart, to understand it, and recognize what it desires.

As Santiago’s journey progresses, he understands that to follow one’s dream, maintain balance in one’s life, and to follow one’s heart are all words that he must live by to truly acquire the most desired thing by man; happiness. With maktub, Santiago grasps the fact that although God’s presence is always accompanying him and that God will never fail to guide him in his time of need, it is himself that makes the important decisions that will carry him to places that he has never dreamed of.

Santiago also begins to understand the significance of maintaining balance, as it allows oneself to recognize the little things in life that makes life interesting and to never lose sight of one’s origins. Overall, listening to one’s heart makes a definite mark on Santiago’s life as it teaches him to trust his heart despite whatever his mind may say, and to understand that sometimes it is the risks in life that can make one the most happiest. Words can truly have an impact on one’s life, as it carries messages that could be held close to the heart. Work Cited Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. New York: Harper Collins, 1998.

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