Gladwell on why the revolution will not be tweeted

Been a while since I last blogged, so here’s setting into motion my plans for jnatomy.

I figure it would be better to blog about social and new media issues on jnatomy, and moving my photography onto another blog when I have created it. I got my internship to Taiwan with Circos and am excited to learn more about social media and the like. Would be great for my final honours year in NUS as I am considering doing a thesis on social media as well. As such, jnatomy on wordpress would be my platform for blogging about my musings on social & new media related topics.

Recently I just read an article by Malcolm Gladwell on The New Yorker and his take on why revolutions would not be tweetd. It’s kinda dated though since it was in October last year. An interesting read, I must say. Activism with strong ties and organised hierarchy. Social media with loose ties and disorganised networks.

Here’s also an interesting read on Joho’s Blog and his take on Gladwell’s article.

Cheers =D

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Singapore General Elections 2011

Elections ended yesterday.

The PAP lost to the Worker’s Party in Aljunied GRC, and left me with a mixture of feelings.

I am neutral to both parties. I just believe that the most competent and capable team should lead Singapore, we can’t afford duds. Whether it is the PAP or Worker’s Party or any other opposition, they have to be top class.

When George Yeo and his team from PAP stepped down yesterday, feelings of ambivalence took over. Maybe the lesson learnt is that even if you are supposedly the best person for the job, if you can’t win at an election, then you’re out. That’s the harsh truth. U may study very hard during the school term, but if you don’t perform at the exams and get the necessary distinctions, then you’re out. To be top class, you have to perform everything well, and that is what I will set out to achieve from now on. If you’re good, then u make sure you fight all the way, win, and rise to the top.

Everyone has their own opinions, who should be the best team to lead Singapore, reasons aplenty. There is no right or wrong. I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”, which is essentially about the power of the unconscious mind that helps people make snap decisions. I remember the first time I saw the Worker’s Party on television this election, and their manifesto read: “Towards a first world parliament.” Immediately I shook my head. It just felt wrong.

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The 2nd lens decision

Look at us, running around.

Always rushed, always late.

I guess that’s why they call it the human race.

What we crave most in this world is connection.

 

I want to move into Street Photography as well. Capturing people’s emotions, flow, energy, and lastly, connection. Henry Cartier-Bresson’s ‘decisive moment’ inspired me as well.

“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy,” Henry Cartier-Bresson said.

I’m considering getting the Canon EF 35mm f/2 lens before I head over to Hong Kong this Thursday.

Any suggestions or recommendations PM me. Cheers =D

 

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What i learnt from The Alchemist cont. pt 3 final

The boy left the alchemist and rode along the desert in search of the pyramids where his treasure laid.

It was his heart that would tell him where his treasure was hidden. His heart would whisper to him, “Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. That’s where I am, and that’s where your treasure is.”

The boy reached the Pyramids. There, he cried. He searched. He was beaten. And it all led him unknowingly to the end where his treasure was.

It’s true; life really is generous to those who pursue their destiny, the boy thought.

The wind began to blow again. It was the levanter, the wind that came from Africa. It didn’t bring with it the smell of the desert, nor the threat of the Moorish invasion. Instead, it brought with it the scent of a perfume he knew well, and the touch of a kiss- a kiss that came from far away, slowly, slowly, until it rested on his lips.

The boy smiled.

“I’m coming, Fatima,” he said.

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What I learnt from The Alchemist cont. pt 2

Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’ Every search begins with beginners luck, and ends with the victor’s being severely tested.

The boy remembered an old proverb from his country. It said that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.

When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.

Your eyes show the strength of your soul.

The boy already knew about alchemy. It was about penetrating to the Soul of the World, and discovering the treasure that has been reserved for each person.

The seashell on the desert. The desert was once a sea. The alchemist told the boy to place the shell over the ear, and which the boy had done numerous times as a child, heard the sound of the sea. The sea has lived on in this shell, because that’s its destiny. And it will never cease doing so until the desert is once again covered by water.

If a person is living out his destiny, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

The boy had to turn himself into the wind. He said he was not afraid of failing, just that he didn’t know how to turn himself into the wind. The alchemist said then, “Well, you’ll have to learn; your life depends on it.” The boy questioned what if he can’t do it. The alchemist continued, “Then you’ll die in the midst of trying to realize your destiny. That’s a lot better than dying like millions of other people, who never even knew what their destinies were. But don’t worry. Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives.”

The world is only the visible aspect of God. What alchemy does is to bring spiritual perfection into contact with the material plane.

Then comes the climax where the boy has to turn himself into the wind, if not he and the alchemist would be killed by the arabs.

“What did you want here today? The desert asked him. “Didn’t you spend enough time looking at me yesterday?”

“Somewhere you are holding the person I love,” the boy said. “So, when I look over your sands, I am also looking at her. I want to return to her, and I need your help so that I can turn myself into the wind.”

“What is love?” the desert asked.

“Love is the falcon’s flight over your sands. Because for him, you are a green field, from which he always returns with game. He knows your rocks, your dunes, and your mountains, and you are generous to him.”

“The falcon’s beak carries bits of me, myself,” the desert said. “For years, I care for his game, feeding it with the little water I have, and then I show him where the game is. And one day, as I enjoy the fact that his game thrives on my surface, the falcon dives out of the sky, and takes away what I’ve created.”

“But that’s why you created the game in the first place,” the boy answered. “To nourish the falcon. And the falcon then nourishes man. And eventually, man will nourish your sands, where the game will once again flourish. That’s how the world goes.”

“So is this what love is?” the desert asked.

“Yes, that’s what love is. It’s what makes the game become the falcon, the falcon become man, and man, in his turn, the desert. It’s what turns lead into gold, and makes the gold return to the earth.” the boy said.

“I don’t understand what you’re talking about,” the desert said.

“But you can at least understand that somewhere in your sands there is a woman waiting for me. And that’s why I have to turn myself into the wind.” the boy said.

The desert then told him, “I’ll give you my sands to help the wind to blow, but alone, I can’t do anything. You have to ask for help from the wind.”

A breeze began to blow, and the wind approached the boy and touched his face. The alchemist smiled. The boy asked for help from the wind, which asked him, “Who taught you to speak the language of the desert and the wind?”

The boy answered, “My heart.”

“You can’t be the wind,” the wind said. “We’re two very different things.”

“That’s not true,” the boy said. “I have learned the alchemist’s secrets in my travels. I have inside me the winds, the deserts, the oceans, the stars, and everything created in the universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul. I want to be like you, able to reach every corner of the world, cross the seas, blow away the sands that cover my treasure, and carry the voice of the woman I love.”

The wind said it had overheard the boy’s conversation with the alchemist, that everything has its own destiny, but then people can’t turn themselves into the wind.

“Just teach me to be the wind for a few moments,” the boy said. “So you and I can talk about the limitless possibilities of people and the winds.” The wind’s curiosity was aroused, something that had never happened before. It wanted to talk about those things, but it didn’t know how to turn a man into the wind. And look how many things the wind already knew how to do. It created deserts, sank ships, felled entire forests, and blew through cities filled with music and strange noises. It felt it had no limits, yet here was a boy saying that there were other things the wind should be able to do.

“This is what we call love,” the boy said, seeing that the wind was close to granting what he requested. “When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you, and even men can turn themselves into the wind. As long as the wind helps, of course.”

The wind commenced to blow harder, raising the desert sands. But finally, it had to recognize that, even with its way around the world, it didn’t know how to turn a man into the wind. And it knew nothing about love.

“In my travels around the world, I’ve often seen people speaking of love and looking towards the heavens,” the wind said, furious at having to acknowledge its own limitations. “Maybe it’s better to ask heaven.”

“Well then, help me do that,” the boy said. “Fill this place with a sandstorm so strong that it blots out the sun. Then I can look to heaven without blinding myself.” So the wind blew with all its strength, and the sky was filled with sand. The arabs became scared.

“The wind told me that you know about love,” the boy said to the sun. “If you know about love, you must also know about the Soul of the World, because its made of love.”

“From where I am,” the sun said, “I can see the Soul of the World. It communicates with my soul, and together we cause the plants to grow and the sheep to seek out shade. From where I am-and I’m a long way from Earth- I learned how to love. I know that if I came even a little bit closer to the earth, everything there would die, and the Soul of the World would no longer exist. So we contemplate each other, and we want each other, and I give it life and warmth, and it gives me my reason for living.”

“So you know about love,” the boy said.

“And I know the Soul of the World, because we have talked at great length to each other during this endless trip through the universe. It tells me that its greatest problem is that, up until now, only the minerals and vegetables understand that all things are one. That there’s no need for iron to be the same as copper, or copper the same as gold. Each performs its own exact function as a unique being, and everything would be a symphony of peace if the hand that wrote all this had stopped on the fifth day of creation.”

“But there was a sixth day,” the sun went on.

“You are wise, because you observe everything from a distance,” the boy said. “But you don’t know about love. If there hadn’t been a sixth day, man would not exist; copper would always be just copper, and lead just lead. It’s true that everything has its destiny, but one day that destiny will be realized. So each thing has to transform itself into something better, and to acquire a new destiny, until, someday, the Soul of the World becomes one thing only.”

The sun thought about that and decided to shine more brightly. The wind, which was enjoying the conversation, started to blow with greater force, so that the sun would not blind the boy.

“This is why alchemy exists,” the boy said. “So that everyone will search for his treasure, find it, and then want to be better than he was in his former life. Lead will play its role, until the world has no further need for lead; and then lead will have to turn itself into gold. That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

“Well, why did you say I don’t know about love?” the sun asked the boy.

“Because it’s not love to be static like the desert, nor is it love to roam the world like the wind. And it’s not love to see everything from a distance, like you do. Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World. When I first reached through to it, I thought the Soul of the World was perfect. But later, I could see that it was like other aspects of creation, and had its own passions and wars. It is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that’s where the power of love comes in. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”

“So what do you want of me?” the sun asked.

“I want you to help me turn myself into the wind,” the boy answered.

“Nature knows me as the wisest being in creation,” the sun said. “But I don’t know how to turn you into the wind.”

“Then whom should I ask?” the boy questioned.

The sun thought for a minute. The wind was listening closely, and wanted to tell every corner of the world that the sun’s wisdom had its limitations. That it was unable to deal with this boy who spoke the Language of the World.

“Speak to the hand that wrote all,” said the sun.

The wind screamed with delight, and blew harder than ever. The arabs’ tents were being blown off, and animals freed from their tethers. The men on the cliff clutched at each other as they sought to keep from being blown away.

The boy turned to the hand that wrote all. As he did so, he sensed that the universe had fallen silent, and he decided not to speak. A current of love rushed from his heart, and the boy began to pray. It was a prayer he had never said before, because it was a prayer without words or pleas. His prayer didn’t give thanks for his sheep having found new pastures; it didn’t ask that the boy be able to sell more crystal; and it didn’t beseech that the woman he had met continue to await his return. In the silence, the boy understood that the desert, the wind, and the sun were also trying to understand the signs written by the hand, and were seeking to follow their paths, and to understand what had been written on a single emerald. He saw that omens were scattered throughout the Earth and in space, and that there was no reason or significance attached to their appearance; he could see that not the deserts, nor the winds, nor the sun, nor people knew why they had been created. But that the hand had a reason for all of this, and that only the hand can perform miracles, or transform the sea into the desert, or a man into the wind. Because only the hand understood that it was a larger design that had moved the universe to the point at which six days of creation had evolved into a Master Work.

The boy reached to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.

When the sandstorm ceased, everyone looked to the place where the boy had been, but he was no longer there. He was standing on a sand-covered sentinel, on the far side of the camp.

No matter what he does, every person on Earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.

 

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What I learnt from The Alchemist cont. pt 1

Maybe God created the desert so that man could appreciate the date trees.

People become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World. As the boy got closer to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things became. It seemed as if what the old king had called beginner’s luck were no longer functioning. In his pursuit of his dream, he was constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.

When someone is in pursuit of his destiny, the entire universe made an effort to help him succeed.

Then, the boy met a beautiful girl by the name of Fatima. When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke- the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning. He knew that his love for her would enable him to discover every treasure in the world.

“The day after we met,” Fatima said, “you told me that you loved me. Then you taught me something of the universal language and the Soul of the World. Because of that, I have become a part of you.”

The Englishman wanted to become an Alchemist. He said it was his fear of failure that first kept him from beginning what he could have started ten years ago. But he was happy at least he didn’t have to wait twenty years.

The boy saw desert birds in the sky. He was going to have to leave Fatima to search for his treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. He thought that maybe those birds could explain to him the meaning of love without ownership.  Always heed the omens, the old king had said. Whatever the thing observed, one could find a connection with his experience of the moment. Actually, it wasn’t that those things, in themselves, revealed anything at all; it was just that people, looking at what was occurring around them, could find a means of penetration to the Soul of the World.

The camel driver was asked why he was so interested in the future. He said so that he can change those things he doesn’t want to happen. The old seer told him “But then they wouldn’t be part of your future.”

The alchemist said “When people consult me, it’s not that I’m reading the future; I am guessing at the future. The future belongs to God, and it is only he who reveals it under extraordinary circumstances. How do I guess at the future? Based on the omens of the present. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And if you improve on the present, what comes later will also better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.”

The camel driver asked under what circumstances God would allow him to see the future. The alchemist said “Only when he, himself, reveals it. And God only rarely reveals the future. When he does so, it is only for one reason: it’s a future that was written so as to be altered.”

The boy could see things the desert showed him because he was a stranger to the desert. “Because my eyes are not yet accustomed to the desert,” the boy said. “I can see things that eyes habituated to the desert might not see.”

The alchemist when he first met and tested the boy, said ” I had to test your courage. Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.”

It’s not what enters men’s mouth that’s evil. It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.

Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense.

Across the desert, the boy wanted to find life. He said to the alchemist, “I don’t know the language of the desert, but my horse knows the language of life.” The horse of the desert will lead the way.

The boy had a dilemma between Fatima, and his treasure and destiny. He has found Fatima, and as far as he was concerned, she was worth more than treasure. The alchemist said, ” Let me tell you what will happen if you stay. You’ll become the counselor of the oasis. You have enough gold to buy many sheep and many camels. You’ll marry Fatima, and you’ll both be happy for a year. You’ll learn to love the desert, and you’ll get to know every one of the fifty thousand palms. You’ll watch as they grow, demonstrating how the world is always changing. And you’ll get better and better understanding omens, because the desert is the best teacher there is.

Sometime during the second year, you’ll remember about the treasure. The omens will begin insistently to speak of it, and you’ll try to ignore them. You’ll use your knowledge for the welfare of the oasis and its inhabitants. The tribal chieftains will appreciate what you do. And your camels will bring you wealth and power.

During the third year, the omens will continue to speak of your treasure and your destiny. You’ll walk around night after night, at the oasis, and Fatima will be unhappy because she’ll feel it was she who interrupted your quest. But you will love her, and she’ll return your love. You’ll remember that she never asked you to stay, because a woman of the desert knows that she must await her man. So you won’t blame her. But many times you’ll walk the sands of the desert, thinking that maybe you could have left…that you could have trusted more in your love for Fatima. Because what kept you at the oasis was your own fear that you might never come back. At that point, the omens will tell you that your treasure is buried forever.

Then sometime during the fourth year, the omens will abandon you, because you have stopped listening to them. The tribal chieftains will see that, and you will be dismissed from your position as counselor. But by then, you’ll be a rich merchant, with many camels and a great deal of merchandise. You’ll spend the rest of your days knowing that you didn’t pursue your destiny, and that now it’s too late. You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny.”

“I’m going with you,” the boy said. And he immediately felt peace in his heart.

During the final journey, he asked the alchemist what went wrong when other alchemists tried to make gold and were unable to do so. The alchemist replied “They were looking only for gold. They were seeking the treasure of their destiny, without wanting actually to live out the destiny.”

The desert will give you an understanding of the world; in fact, anything on the face of the earth will do that. You don’t even have to understand the desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation. How does one immerse himself in the desert? By listening to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there. Why do we have to listen to our hearts? Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.

But our hearts are traitors. It doesn’t want the boy to go on pursuing his dream and treasure. It makes sense, because one might lose everything he had won, and the heart becomes naturally afraid. But why still listen to it? Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet. Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside of you, repeating to you that you are thinking about life and the world.

People’s hearts are that way. People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. Our hearts become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found, but were forever hidden in the sands. Because when these things happen, we suffer terribly. Our hearts are afraid that it will have to suffer.

But, tell your heart that fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. 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 & with eternity. When one truly searches for his or her treasure, he or she will discover things along the way that they never would have seen had they not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.

All people who are happy have God within them. Happiness can be found in a grain of sand. It is a moment of creation, and the universe has taken millions of years to create it. We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.

 

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What I learnt from The Alchemist

Everyone should have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

Everyone believes the world’s greatest lie. That at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what is happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.

Everyone, when they’re young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear & everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny. It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your destiny.

The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one.

And when you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

People never truly realize that they are capable, at any time of their lives, of doing what they dream of. Take for example shepherds and bakers. Bakers have homes, while shepherds sleep out in the open. Parents would rather see their children marry bakers than shepherds. In the long run, what people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important to them than their own destinies.

Treasure is uncovered by the force of flowing water, and it is buried by the same currents. If you start out by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work towards getting it. Everything in life has its price.

This is the story of a little boy. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to, and something he wanted to have. The boy felt jealous of the freedom of the wind, and saw that he could have the same freedom. There was nothing to hold him back except himself. The sheep, the merchant’s daughter, the fields of Andalusia were only steps along the way to his destiny.

The principle of favorability. When you play cards the first time, you are almost sure to win. Beginner’s luck. Why is that? Because there is a force that wants you to realize your destiny; it whets your appetite with a taste of success.

Omens. Butterflies. Urim & Thummin. The black signifies yes and the white no. When you are unable to read the omens, they will help you to do so. Always ask an objective question. Don’t forget that everything you deal with is only one thing and nothing else. Don’t forget the language of omens. And above all, don’t forget to follow your destiny through to its conclusion.

The story of the boy and the wise man and his marvelous castle atop the hill. The wise man said “As you wander this castle, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill”. The boy went, came back, and the oil was gone. The secret of happiness is to see the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon. A shepherd may like to travel, but he should never forget about his sheep.

I’m like everyone else- I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does. There were certain things one shouldn’t ask about, so as not to flee from one’s own destiny. I promised I would make my own decisions.When the boy became the victim of a thief, he realized he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief, and as an adventurer in the quest of his treasure. He chose to be the adventurer.

The boy came across a candy seller. He was happy aware of what his life was about. He wasn’t making candy so that he can later travel or marry a shopkeeper’s daughter. He’s doing it because it’s what he wants to do. He felt he could sense whether a person was near to or far from his destiny. There must be a language that doesn’t depend on words. He had that experience with his sheep, and now it was happening with people. If he could understand this language without words, he can learn to understand the world.

He met a merchant who sold crystal. The merchant said ” It’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That’s what helps me face these days that are all the same, these mute crystals on the shelves, and lunch and dinner at that same horrible cafe. I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living.” The merchant said to the boy, that he was different from him, because he wanted to realize his dreams. Not everyone can see his or her dreams come true the same way.

The boy wanted to help the merchant serve tea in crystal to thirsty customers atop the hill. The merchant said if we did so, the shop was going to expand, and he would have to change his way of life. He doesn’t know how to deal with change. He’s used to the way he is.

Every blessing ignored becomes a curse. I don’t want anything else in life. But you are forcing me to look at wealth and at the horizons I have never known. Now that I have seen them, and now that I see how immense my possibilities are, I’m going to feel worse than I did before. Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don’t want to do so.

There had been a time when he thought that his sheep could teach him everything he needed to know about the world. But they could never have taught him Arabic. There are probably other things the sheep can’t teach him. All they ever do, really, is look for food and water. And maybe it wasn’t that they were teaching the boy, but maybe that, the boy was learning from them.

There was a language in the world that everyone understood. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.

Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he or she is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. Everything in life is an omen. There is a universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten. The mysterious chain that links one thing to another. The closer one gets to realizing his destiny, the more that destiny becomes his true reason for being.

‘Hunches’, his mother used to call them. The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.

The boy went on a caravan journey across the desert in search for his treasure in Egypt, with camel guides and an Englishman. What the desert teaches you. No matter how many detours and adjustments it made, the caravan moved toward the same compass point. Once obstacles were overcome, it returned to its course. The stars lighted the direction for the guides as well. It was only the Englishman who was unaware of all this; he was, for the most part, immersed in reading his books. The boy found it much more interesting to observe the caravan and listen to the wind.

Disaster teaches you one thing: People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.

We are afraid of losing what we have, our life, possessions, & property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand. Once you get into the desert, there’s no going back. When you can’t go back, you only have to worry about the best way of moving forward. The rest is up to God, including the danger. We make a lot of detours, but we’re always heading for the same destination.

The Soul of the World, the principle that governs all things. When u want something with all your heart, that’s when u are closest to the Soul of the World. It’s always a positive force. Everything on the face of this earth has a soul, whether the mineral, vegetable, or animal, or even just a simple thought. Everything on Earth is being continuously transformed, because the earth is alive, and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognize that it is working for us. In the crystal shop, even the glasses were collaborating in the success of the boy.

The caravan and the desert speak the same language, and it’s for that reason that the desert allows the crossing. It’s going to test the caravan every step to see if it’s in time, and if it is, it will make it to the oasis. All things are the manifestation of one thing only.

The boy talked to the Englishman about alchemists, the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life. The alchemists spent years in their laboratories, observing the fire that purified the metals. They gradually gave up the vanities of the world. They discovered that the purification of the metals led to a purification of themselves. The boy thought it was a good thing for him to clean the crystal pieces, so he could free himself from negative thoughts. He became convinced that alchemy could be learned in one’s daily life.

The boy learned that the world has a soul, and that whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of things. He also learnt that many alchemists realized their destinies, and wound up discovering the Soul of the World, the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Elixir of life. But above all, he learnt that these things are so simple that they could be written on the surface if the emerald.

Everyone has his or her own way of learning things. His way isn’t the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we’re both in search of our destinies, and I respect him for that.

The camel driver said “I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival. because life is the moment we’re living right now. They reached and could see the oasis not far away at nightfall. The boy asked why not go there now. The camel driver said “Because we have to sleep.”

 

And so I will stop my words here, and continue the next part coming up.

 

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