Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pragmatism in The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

Santiago, more often identified as "the boy" in The Alchemist decides to live his life like a pragmatist.

“As he mused about these things [loss of his possessions], he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure. ‘I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure,’ he said to himself... He no longer had to seek out food and water for the sheep; he could go in search of his treasure, instead. He had not a cent in his pocket, but he had faith. He had decided, the night before, that he would be as much of an adventurer as the ones he had admired in books.” (pp 44-45).

The boy follows his destiny as he defines it for himself, and Coelho rewards him in the end with gold. Like Pragmatism, a philosophy born in the Americas, The Alchemist is a fable I think that also could only be told by someone from the Americas, despite its being set in old Spain and old North Africa.

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