Thinking about future generations

By Paulo Coelho

When he was a young man, Abin-Alsar overheard a conversation his father had with a dervish.

‘Be careful how you act,’ said the dervish. ‘Think about how your actions might affect future generations.’

‘What have I got do with future generations?’ said his father. ‘I won’t ever meet them. When I die, that will be that, and I don’t care what my descendants say about me.’

Abin-Alsar never forgot this conversation. All his life, he tried to do good, to help people and to carry out his work with enthusiasm.

He became known as a man who cared about others. When he died, he left behind him a large number of charitable projects which considerably improved the standard of living in his city.

He had ordered the following epitaph to be engraved on his tomb:

‘A life that ends with death is a life not worth living.’

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  1. Mary-Ann says:

    i like the story…huhuhu

    paulo coelho rocks!


  2. eli says:

    muy bonito todo

  3. aditya says:

    Keep up the good work Yagna ! individuals like youwill bring about the hope that humanity may live.

    fLUXman : the questions u have raised are very very pertinent, unless humanity wakes up and takes notice of these issues, well it’s gonna get worse, few superrich individuals and people dying of starvation. Even those superrich people ‘invest’ that money to create more money ! as if money is an end in itself, wasn’t it supposed to be a means to an end.

    But then humanity as a whole has become like an animal on which u have shown some mesmerising light say in the night, how the animal remains transfixed to the light, similar has become our obsession with money and share market and profits.

    Lost in the gizmo, we don’t want to wake up, but then nature does not care if we want our not, it has it’s means of forcing us to wake up.

    U know Osho used to attribute all his ‘achievements’ to first seven years of his life, when he used to live in a village, under the gudance of his grand parents who never made him do anything, no school even, he grew up in freedom and hence he lived & died a free man.

  4. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo,
    today i’d like to speak my mind,
    what is this education that people are talking about, if all it does is destroy our future, are we so blinded by this stupid concept of richness that we even believe that the stock exchange can go up and up and up. my dears that shows us mother natures bounty, which a greedy few are misusing with little foresight and whats this build up in the pace of life supposed to be, is it that we have become soo bored with ourselves that we want constant chaos around us ???
    where is this leading to ???
    they talk about pumping in millions of dollars into the system, but whose millions are those ???
    now a days I go to a music shop and pick up say a dozen cd’s . not even three good tracks in ten cd’s.
    I go to a book shop and thankfully there is paulo, but ooh ive read all of hium , and now browsing other authors , looking for depth.
    SO is this what we are leaving for our future generations???
    chaos, bad quality art, thought, big mess full of bullshit, so confusing, my daughter in the first grade has to comprehend maths at six??? why and is this the age to stress up their tender minds.

  5. Noor says:

    I think you’re really right. we are here not to just live, we’ve gotta find out why are we here for…
    It’d be pointless if we just died and that was it. We have to care about the world and try to make it better for those who are coming after us! and for those who are already living in it!

  6. ami says:

    Nowadays we can think it’s easier to think about future generations….

    Mother Earth is not happy anymore with what us the human beaigns are doing with our actions : Global warmings, earth quarck, poverty,famine, sorrow.. It’s really heavy for GAIA…

    So back to the root…. again… back to scriptures.. old or not to improve our actions, to do our best of the situations….

    We need to take care of the children, of the fathers and grand fathers….
    We need to take care of ourselves, just be aware…. Be conscious with wild eyes opened always…

    I think is our duty, it’s my duty to realise that… Not so easy in daily practice i would say.. but’s that’s a challenge. Everything is a challenge….in life…
    I should be wise and compassionnate, for others too.

    I’m grateful Paulo, Thank you

  7. pablo mesa says:

    hola paulo, no hablo ingles pero se que el lenguaje universal ayudara a enviar este mensaje, estoy muy triste desde que perdi a mi novia, ella aunque dice quererme no quierre seguir a mi lado. yo aunque soy muy buena persona no he sabido llevar una relacion sana, y la verdad es que la amo y he hecho cambios en mi, aun asi ella tiene miedo de regrezar a mi lado porque no quiere vivr nuevamente experiencias como las del pasado. se que cuando queremos algo con todo el corazon el universo entero conspira para darnos lo que queremos y to con el corazon la amo y la quiero. por favor ayudeme y digame como puedo calmar el dolor ue tengo dentro de mi al no verla cerca. pablo mesa de venezuela

  8. Yajna says:

    Dearest Leaf, Paulo and friends,

    As much as you may be alarmed that a parent like that exists in the world leaf, it does exist. Just look at the world sometimes, there are so many people who have so much but won’t help others, and there are many people who are plain down selfish, even when it comes to their very own kids. Comfortable in their place of authority, they will not go out of their way to make their own kids happy at times.
    Yesterday, i went fundraising for Rag, its the university charity, where we have tin cans and ask people for change. We went to a well known mall, in a fairly rich area, and most of the people who shopped there were well off financially. I swear, if you really want to make people run at times, ask them for money. I got from dirty looks, to sneers, to avoidence at all costs, to plain down racing away from me. It disappointed me an extent, simply because alot of these people were more than well off. But you know, at the same time, there were people who gave. Particularly, a mother who didn’t want to give me money, but her kids, with their own allowance gave me, which was really something you don’t see everyday. There were workers who gave and kind shoppers too. So alas, there is hope in the world :) As, i’ve said before, the smallest of gestures can change the world. This world is made up more than enough resources, we just need to share it correctly. Ironically enough, in the story, if the boy had not heard his fathers insensitivity, he would have not developed the courage to change himself, and thus change the world. Just something to ponder about.. the universe amazes me..!

    Thank you for being

  9. Louise Knowles says:

    Love from New Zealand

    My name is Louise Knowles. In 2004 I travelled alone to Italy, the country my Grandfather was born in and the land I had dreamed to one day visit. Whilst in Sorrento, I did not feel well, so rested in my hotel room. A book shop was below the hotel so I went down to find something to read. I am not usually a reader and was not wanting a huge novel to rest with. Most of the books and magazines were in Italian of cause, then I looked across the row and a book was sticking out of the shelf from all the others, it was ‘The Alchemist’ and it was in English. I read it from cover to cover in a matter of hours. I was filled with emotions of warmth and happiness. When I left Italy 5 days later on my way home to New Zealand, I had a stop over in Singapore for two days. Alone I walked through a crowded mall and a man called out “lady with happy face, but turmoil inside, God has sent me to talk to a lady from NZ, I know all about your life.” I spoke to him and he knew me and warned me particularly about a man back in NZ who was very bad man and black magic in my life and that I must keep away. I could write more but it would be a novel!!the things that have happened to me in the last 3 years, extremes. What I am trying to relay is this, when I was on the other side of the world where I was safe and away from influences here at home, a message was being sent to me, I have had many signs before, but I was not taking enough notice and so the message had to be delivered more seriously, and it began with your beautiful book and continues with your other writings. With love for the special union of spirit, of people who have never met, from lands far apart. I thank you for writing for you and to me. Louise Knowles

  10. Leaf says:

    Obviously, if Our generation is perpetually dissatisfied, then it’s the Next Generation who needs pacifying and obligating, ….so to do our best and give them what we never had is the only hope worth living and dying for.

    I can’t believe that any parent would be so naive, insensitive and selfish as to say this
    ( re. original story),
    sir, I think/hope you made it up again.
    Captain on deck.
    Salute, bow, grovel inconspicuously,

  11. marie says:

    i had a conversation with an elderly man recently while taking my moring walk he told me the same thing ‘Think about how your actions might affect future generations.’ well, up until now i understand what he was talking about

  12. Mary-Ann says:

    i like the story…huhuhu

    paulo coelho rocks!


  13. Nuno Firmino says:

    Mais uma vez tiro-lhe o meu chapéu, caro amigo, pela presente frase do dia.

    Paulo Coelho é uma lenda Viva

  14. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo,

    I loved this story. As usual, your simplicity tells the truth exactly the way it is. I think it is important to make a difference in this. You do only live once, but your life can impact others, years and years after death, and in a way you live on like that,(in others). Loved it Paulo, just loved it.

    thank you for being.