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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Registered: 06/30/03
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The Alchemist
    #2632479 - 05/03/04 05:04 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Here is a book which is reknowned by celebrities and former Presidents alike as an "inspirational masterpiece".  It has sold more than twenty million copies and it has been translated into over 56 languages.  This is one of those books that people tell you that "you have to read", like its gonna change your whole outlook on life or something:
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho

This book is dumb. 

Its about a shepherd from spain who decides to sell his flock and go to egypt to pursue a treasure from his recurring dreams.  Along the way he meets many interesting people and encounters many hardships and challenges.  But signs and omens keep pointing him to his dream and he has faith in them.  Many of the people he meets on the way help him in his pursuit.  One of them is an Alchemist who teaches him to read signs and omens and "listen to his heart" :rolleyes: 

Eventually, everything works out and the dude gets the treasure.  The main points of this book are as follows:

1.  Follow your dreams
2.  If you want something, the whole world will help you get it
3.  The same hand writes all fates, so everything was "meant to be"
4.  Heed signs and omens; trust gut instincts and your "heart"
5.  The main reason for failure and unhappiness is giving up on your dreams. 

While I happen to metaphysically agree with a lot of the book's ideas, I think that the practical advice it offers is terrible.  90% of the things that happened in this book would not have happened the same way in real life as they did in the story.  The book is optimistic to the point of naivetie.  The book doesnt just promise "inner peace" by following its advice, it actually offers material reward. 

Furhermore, the book promotes bad thinking habits by overemphasizing the importance of subjective "omens" and personal feelings.  In a fairy tale, these things may be accurate predictors of reality, but in real life, we need something a little more objective.  If the scientific method is how intelligent people think naturally, then this book outlines the cognitive strategies which the highly unintelligent are likely to use. 

This book also promotes narcissism, which I find repugnant.  No fucking wonder why madonna liked it so much.  Paulo actually says something in the forward about the virtue of selfishness. 

And i think that that is why this book is successful.  It has given people justification for their self-obsession, their greed, and their lazy, bad cognitive habits.  This affective drivel makes them all squishy inside. 

anyway, if some stoner at a dead concert tells you to read this, my advice is not to waste the hour it will take. 

Anyone who has read the book can disagree, but I thought it was drivel.


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peace, pot, and microdot!


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OfflineParabolaChair
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2632507 - 05/03/04 05:10 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Hah, good to know man, thanks.


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OfflineWizdum
8-bit nitwit.

Registered: 05/02/04
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2632844 - 05/03/04 06:20 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

And i think that that is why this book is successful. It has given people justification for their self-obsession, their greed, and their lazy, bad cognitive habits. This affective drivel makes them all squishy inside.




People are constantly looking for support and validation of their bad habits. It's kind of sad, really. :nonono:


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Offlineivi
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2633787 - 05/03/04 09:07 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

I don't like Paulo Coelho either. He's so lame :thumbdown::nonono:

Try this one, DoctorJ. Something tells me You will love it :wink:
It is the Shpongle/GD/BoC of the literature! hehehe...

 

(read more about the book)


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Invisiblebert
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2633805 - 05/03/04 09:10 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

I read The Alchemist as well on the recommendation of a friend. Terrible book, I agree with you totally. It was pretty much just inspirational brain candy for people who also read stuff like Chicken Soup for The Soul and watch Dr. Phil.


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Persons denying the existence of robots may be robots themselves.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: bert]
    #2633975 - 05/03/04 09:43 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

LOL! Right, good analogy.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: ivi]
    #2633985 - 05/03/04 09:47 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

I'll check it out. anything that alludes to Faust should be aight.


--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2634350 - 05/03/04 10:53 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

What made you take such issue with this popular piece of fluff? Is it that you were just disappointed? I mean, it bugs me that someone used the term 'alchemist' in a little book that has nothing to do with alchemy, and everyone thinks that it's profound and buys it - literally and figuratively. I mean, the license plate on my car has said ALCHEMY for the past 12 years. I have a fairly extensive library of real alchemical writings and art, and Sun-Moon art adorns our living room as the symbol of our Alchemical Marriage (the Conjunctio Oppositorum), yet nobody in 12 years has ever discussed this stuff with me besides the Jungian analysts I used to see. Some country girl in a huge pick-up truck, who was apparently homesick for central Florida, saw my license plate and yelled out the window at me in my Miata at a red light in Hollywood, Florida: "ALLEGHENY?! ALLEGHENY COUNTY?!!" I didn't respond 'cause it would have embarrassed her.
One middle school teacher asked me about it last year (I was shocked) and when I met my Lady, she at least knew about the 'turning-base-metals-into-gold' notion that most people hear about. More importantly, she took an interest in spiritual alchemy after learning about it.

Sorry...I guess you hit a nerve. Did you know that in England the title of 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' kept the original title of 'Harry Potter and the Philosophers' Stone' which is the goal of true alchemy? Of course the notion of sorcerer with its overtones of 'power' is much more marketable in the USA than 'philosopher' or the implications of alchemist via 'philosophers' stone.' Anyway...............


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #2634465 - 05/03/04 11:18 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

yeah it just struck me as the type of lame spirituality book that they would sell at Hot Topic in the mall. It was recommended to me by a good friend and I thought it might be good. Boy was I wrong.


--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


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InvisibleMycomancer
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2635482 - 05/04/04 03:10 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

An interesting coincidence, i just picked this book up at a yard sale about a week ago (50 cents) and I agree, it doesn't live up to the hype. However, if none of the hype existed, it'd just be an adventure story, or a mediocre fable.

I got alot more out of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman.

mycomancer


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Invisiblebert
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: Mycomancer]
    #2635504 - 05/04/04 03:19 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

lol...oh man my friend recommended me that book too at the same time. I bought both off of amazon.com Way of the Peaceful Warrior was at least more interesting, I guess.


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Persons denying the existence of robots may be robots themselves.


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OfflineLux
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2635591 - 05/04/04 04:02 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Haha, while I've never read this book I suppose I could be classified as highly unintelligent. Ah well, nothing new. :lol:


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Offlined33p
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2637148 - 05/04/04 04:18 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

It is required reading for seniors in many secondary schools. It is quite sad that this is the kind of literary trash we teach kids today.


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I'm a nihilist. Lets be friends.

bang bang


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: d33p]
    #2637203 - 05/04/04 04:34 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

that does not surprise me at all. this is the same kind of garbage that they made me read when I was in HS.


--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


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Offlineexclusive58
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2681266 - 05/15/04 05:13 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I read it and I actually thought it was good read.
Of course if you take this read as a serious lesson or teaching of spirituality, it turns out to be disappointing.
I don't think Paulo tried to teach any philosophical ideas through this book, its more of a romantic/fantastic book that serves as entertainment.
And it should be pointed out that the story takes place like a thousand years ago or something. So it goes a thousand years back to the way people were thinking back then.

I agree though that kids shouldn't be reading this at school, it isn't a book to be studied, its kinda like a mushroom trip, its a voyage to another place.

I'm sad people trash this book.


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InvisibleRevelation

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Re: The Alchemist [Re: exclusive58]
    #2682137 - 05/15/04 02:15 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I agree.


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: exclusive58]
    #2682190 - 05/15/04 02:31 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

"good read"?

the whole thing was just so bloody nice, wasn't it?  everything worked out just right in the end.

I love how the dude just leaves his girl behind because he knows its "true love" and she "will wait for him".  :lol:

and after he spends years having all these adventures, they supposedly get back together.  but the book doesnt say shit about all the other travellers that girl boinked while staying in that oasis. 

anyway, the whole thing is a big fantasy, and there are a lot of other examples of things in that book that would probably not have happened in reality. 

and i really do think that the author intended it as a fable with a moral.  Did you read the forward in the book?


--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


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InvisibleJenny
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2682237 - 05/15/04 02:41 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

i'm reading it right now. my mom gave it to me so i figured i'd give it a go. its fine..its a book


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Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience.
It isn't more complicated than that.
It is opening to or recieving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is,
without either clinging to it or rejecting it.


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: The Alchemist [Re: Jenny]
    #2682244 - 05/15/04 02:44 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

burn it.

if you really need something to read, sweetheart, I can give you about 1,000 recomendations that would be a better use of your time.


--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


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Offlinegotmagog
searching fortruth andlogic...

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Re: The Alchemist [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2683299 - 05/15/04 07:49 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I agree, this book is too naive and not real. It shows an idealized and mystical side of life.

But some books are good to be read just as funny digressions, others may offer actually insights into life.
So, as a digression the alchemist was a fine and quick read (I guess a major plus of the book is that anyone may finish it quickly, that's the way to sell 60 million copies worldwide) but nothing more.

But again, maybe I am just too cynical and people without problems in life will love the idealism there.


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