The dawn of time

caveman

Looking back toward the dawn of civilization: we could not survive alone. So we were obliged to come together. We lived in a symbolic world in the classic (holistic) sense. Not because it was politically correct or because it was imposed by society or because it was good for our health – rather, it was because we had no wall separating the magic from what we call ‘reality’.

So in the very beginning, when you heard thunder – it was God speaking. You looked to the mountain – it was God who lived there. You looked to the fire – a God was also there.
So compared to the beginning, we were what we still are now – but which we no longer recognize — we were ONE. Full of imagination and creativity.
Human beings were like cells from the same body, and these cells interacted with one another, for better or for worse.
But then we lost this “oneness” as society became more schizophrenic.

We were individuals, but at the same time we were the tribe – society. There are some studies showing that at the very beginning we were monotheists as we could not put god everywhere.
But then polytheism gradually emerged. We started naming places and giving gods and goddesses specific tasks.

Embedded in our genes is this sense of oneness which does not imply sacrificing our individuality. We had this connection with nature because we could not remain in the same place for long. We had to stretch and go beyond our limits because the basics – food, water, shelter – were elsewhere, so we had to move. This meant that we did not get attached to any one place, which also affected our values because we were constantly going beyond our comfort zone – we were forced to go to the second, third, fourth, etc. mountain – but then eventually, everything changed.
Moving from hunters to dwellers – we settled down, we stopped moving.

Time to be ready to new adventures!

CoelhoOffice 05 – On immortality

Videocast #5 – Paulo Coelho talking about changes and vampires.

Videocast #5 – Paulo Coelho falando sobre mudanças e vampiros.

Videocast #5 – Paulo Coelho hablando acerca de cambios y vampiros.

The cultural puzzle

1 MIN reading: Krishna will hear your prayer

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A widow from a poor village in Bengal did not have enough money to pay for her son’s bus fare, and so when the boy started going to school, he would have to walk through the forest all on his own.

In order to reassure him, she said:

‘Don’t be afraid of the forest, my son. Ask your God Krishna to go with you. He will hear your prayer.’

The boy followed his mother’s suggestion, and Krishna duly appeared and from then on accompanied him to school every day.

When it was his teacher’s birthday, the boy asked his mother for some money in order to buy him a present.
‘We haven’t any money, son. Ask your brother Krishna to get you a present.’

The following day, the boy explained his problem to Krishna, who gave him a jug of milk.
The boy proudly handed the milk to the teacher, but the other boys’ presents were far superior and the teacher didn’t even notice his.

‘Where did you get that jug?’

‘Krishna, the God of the forest, gave it to me.’

The teacher, the students and the assistant all burst out laughing.

‘There are no gods in the forest, that’s pure superstition,’ said the teacher. ‘If he exists, let’s all go and see him.’
The whole group set off. The boy started calling for Krishna, but he did not appear.
The boy made one last desperate appeal.

‘Brother Krishna, my teacher wants to see you. Please show yourself!’

At that moment, a voice emerged from the forest and echoed through the city and was heard by everyone.

‘I can’t! He doesn’t even believe I exist!’

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

 

Promo Bay

The Pirate Bay starts today a new and interesting system to promote arts
Do you have a band? Are you an aspiring movie producer? A comedian? A cartoon artist?
They will replace the front page logo with a link to your work.
As soon as I learned about it, I decided to participate. Several of my books are there, and as I said in a previous post, My thoughts on SOPA, the physical sales of my books are growing since my readers post them in P2P sites.
Welcome to download my books for free and, if you enjoy them, buy a hard copy – the way we have to tell to the industry that greed leads to nowhere.
Love
The Pirate Coelho

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

 

Joining the spiritual path

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Many emotions move the human heart when it decides to dedicate itself to the spiritual path.
This may be a “noble” reason – like faith, love of our neighbor, or charity.
Or it may be just a whim, the fear of loneliness, curiosity, or the fear of death.

None of that matters. The true spiritual path is stronger than the reasons that led us to it and little by little it imposes itself with love, discipline and dignity.
A moment arrives when we look backwards, remember the beginning of our journey, and laugh at ourselves. We have managed to grow, although we traveled the path for reasons that were very futile.

God uses loneliness to teach us about living together.
Sometimes he uses anger so that we can understand the infinite value of peace.
At other times he uses tedium, when he wants to show us the importance of adventure and leaving things behind.
God uses silence to teach us about the responsibility of what we say.
At times he uses fatigue so that we can understand the value of waking up.
At other times he uses sickness to show us the importance of health.
God uses fire to teach us about water.
Sometimes he uses earth so that we can understand the value of air. And at times he uses death when he wants to show us the importance of life

Remember this when for some reason you feel unable to continue on your path

The mountain will tell me when I am old

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I have chosen a mountain to define my limits. In 1989 (I was just over 40yrs and I had already published The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage in Brasil), I was on my second sacred pilgrimage in the Pyrenees. And I saw a mountain in the distance called Pic du Gez and I said, ‘okay, I have nothing to do today, so I’m going to climb that peak’.

First, it was very difficult to get close to the base – from a distance it looked so easy. When I finally arrived at the bottom, I had about five hours to climb about 2,000m. Not a big deal. So I started climbing, and I got lost. I knew the peak, but I had no water, no food, I had nothing. Eventually, I made it to the top and looked around. It was summer. There was no snow, it was barren.
It looked like the moon and I seriously thought, ‘I don’t know my way back. I can’t take the same route that I took to get here’. I spent nearly four hours climbing and I had no energy for the descent (which is more difficult than the ascent). So I sat down, and my first decision was that I wasn’t going to smoke – I needed to preserve all my energy.
As I looked around, I saw a city in the distance and I said ‘I’m going to that city’.
And again, it seems easy to navigate when you see something like that in the distance. So I started my descent, heading towards the city, but soon after I began I could no longer see the city anymore. I said, ‘my God, I may die here’. And then I thought ‘well, that’s not so bad. I die on a mountain. Winter will come, my body will disappear and I will become a legend’.

Eventually, I made my way to the city, but I couldn’t sleep that night. My body was completely tense. I had gone beyond my limit.
I called my wife Christina the next day and said, ‘yesterday, I was lost in a mountain, I almost died’.
And she said, ‘okay Paulo, great, but don’t call me very often because our telephone bill is getting very high’. And I’m thinking, ‘oh my God, I almost died and here she is talking about my telephone bill because I was always calling collect’ (laughter).

After this experience, I decided that this mountain would tell me when I get old.
So once a year, I return to climb this mountain. One day, I will be unable to climb it and when that day comes, it will be a landmark moment, a turning point, telling me that I can no longer overstretch myself that way and that I need to find something else. I will find something else.
So this mountain is a symbol for me.

CoelhoOffice 04 – On writing (IV) : The book leaves the author

Podcast #4 – In this videocast, Paulo Coelho talks about how important it is to have discipline when you are writing a book.

Podcast #4 – O nesse videocast, Paulo Coelho fala sobre como é importante ter discplina na hora de escrever um livro.

Podcast #4 – En ese videocast, Paulo Coelho habla sobre como es importante tener disciplina para escribir un libro.

Another wrong step

As if nothing had changed overnight, the warrior takes another wrong step and dives once again into the abyss. Ghosts provoke, loneliness torments him. Now that he is more aware of his acts, he did not think this would happen.

But it did. Shrouded by darkness, he talks to his master.

“Master, I fell again into the abyss “, he says.” The waters are deep and dark”.

“Remember something “, responds the master. It is not the diving that causes the drowning, but the staying underwater

The warrior uses his remaining strength to get out of the situation he is in.

in in WARRIOR OF THE LIGHT: A MANUAL

My thoughts on S.O.P.A.

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IN THE former Soviet Union, in the late 1950s and 60s, many books that questioned the political system began to be circulated privately in mimeographed form. Their authors never earned a penny in royalties. On the contrary, they were persecuted, denounced in the official press, and sent into exile in the notorious Siberian gulags. Yet they continued to write.

Why? Because they needed to share what they were feeling. From the Gospels to political manifestos, literature has allowed ideas to travel and even to change the world.

I have nothing against people earning money from their books; that’s how I make my living.
But look at what’s happening now. Stop Online Piracy Act (S.O.P.A) may disrupt internet. This is a REAL DANGER, not only for Americans, but for all of us, as the law – if approved – will affect the whole planet.

And how do I feel about this?
As an author, I should be defending ‘intellectual property’, but I’m not.

Pirates of the world, unite and pirate everything I’ve ever written!

The good old days, when each idea had an owner, are gone forever.
First, because all anyone ever does is recycle the same four themes: a love story between two people, a love triangle, the struggle for power, and the story of a journey.
Second, because all writers want what they write to be read, whether in a newspaper, blog, pamphlet, or on a wall.

The more often we hear a song on the radio, the keener we are to buy the CD. It’s the same with literature.

The more people ‘pirate’ a book, the better. If they like the beginning, they’ll buy the whole book the next day, because there’s nothing more tiring than reading long screeds of text on a computer screen.

1. Some people will say: You’re rich enough to allow your books to be distributed for free.

That’s true. I am rich. But was it the desire to make money that drove me to write? No. My family and my teachers all said that there was no future in writing.
I started writing and I continue to write because it gives me pleasure and gives meaning to my existence. If money were the motive, I could have stopped writing ages ago and saved myself having to put up with invariably negative reviews.

2. The publishing industry will say: Artists can’t survive if they’re not paid.

In 1999, when I was first published in Russia ( with a print- run of 3,000), the country was suffering a severe paper shortage. By chance, I discovered a ‘ pirate’ edition of The Alchemist and posted it on my web page.
An year later, when the crisis was resolved, I sold 10,000 copies of the print edition.
By 2002, I had sold a million copies in Russia, and I have now sold over 12 million.

When I traveled across Russia by train, I met several people who told me that they had first discovered my work through the ‘ pirated’ edition I posted on my website. Nowadays, I run a ‘Pirate Coelho’ website, giving links to any books of mine that are available on P2P sites.
And my sales continue to grow — nearly 140 million copies world wide.

When you’ve eaten an orange, you have to go back to the shop to buy another. In that case, it makes sense to pay on the spot.
With an object of art, you’re not buying paper, ink, paintbrush, canvas or musical notes, but the idea born out of a combination of those products.

‘Pirating’ can act as an introduction to an artist’s work. If you like his or her idea, then you will want to have it in your house; a good idea doesn’t need protection.

The rest is either greed or ignorance
 
 

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

 

Stop #SOPA

Yes, it is OUR problem. This law will affect everybody (not only American citizens)
Spread the word

(below, parts of a must read article by Jeff Jarvis)

We are the lobbyists now

The internet has helped untold publics to form. Yesterday, the internet became a public.

Or rather, millions of people who care about internet freedom used the net to organize and defend it against efforts to control and harm it.

The SOPA-PIPA blackout got attention in media that previously all but ignored the issue, whether out of conflict of interest or negligence.
In the discussion about the movement yesterday, I heard someone in Washington quoted, saying that these geeks should hire lobbyists like everyone else.
No, we’re all lobbyists now, and that’s just as it should be. This movement didn’t need influence peddlers. It didn’t need political commercials. It didn’t need media. It needed only citizens who give a shit. Democracy.

I’m delighted that the discussion rose to the level of principles, a discussion I’ve argued has to take place if we, the internet public, are to protect our tool of publicness.

There’s much more going on under this battle: the disruption of media business models, a fundamental change in our view of the value of content, the undercutting of institutions’ power, the lowering of national boundaries. But for now, never mind that and concentrate on what was born yesterday: a political movement, a movement whose cause is freedom.

What else can this movement do? Can it elect candidates? Should it? Or should it continue to hold politicians’ feet to the fire? I don’t think I want to see the formation of an internet party. I don’t want this movement to mimic the way power used to be traded. I don’t want it to become an institution. I also don’t think it’s possible. I prefer to see it continuing to mimic #OccupyWallStreet , organizing without organizations (pace Shirky), discerning through interaction its principles and goals.

After yesterday, the powerful are on warning that a public can rise up out of nowhere to protest and pressure, to fight and win.

30 sec reading: The black man

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EN ESPANOL AQUI > El negro

Por Rosa Montero

We are at the restaurant of a German University. A red haired student, and undeniably German takes her tray and sits down at her table.
She then realizes she has forgotten her cutlery and gets up again to pick it up.

Coming back, she sees with astonishment that a black man, possibly sub-Saharian by his appearance, is sitting there and is eating from her tray.
Straight away, the young woman feels lost and stressed . But immediately changes her thought and presumes that the African is not familiar with European customs concerning private property and privacy.
She also takes into consideration that perhaps he does not have enough money to pay for his meal.

In any case, she decides to sit in front of the guy and to smile at him in a friendly manner.
The African responds with another dazzling smile.
The German girl starts to help herself, –sharing the food with the black man with genuine pleasure and courtesy.
And thus, he took the salad, she ate the soup, both took their share of the stew, one took care of the yoghurt and the other of the piece of fruit,
All this peppered with numerous refined smiles – timid from the man and smoothly, encouraging and kind by the girl -.
They eat up their lunch.
The German girl gets up to get a coffee.
And it is then that she discovers, on the table behind the black man, her coat placed on the back of a chair and her food tray untouched.

________________________

I dedicated this charming story – furthermore an authentic one – to all who are wary of immigrants and consider them as inferior individuals.
To all these people, who with the best of intentions, observe them condescendingly and with paternalism.
It would be better that we free ourselves of prejudices or we run the risk to make a fool of ourselves like the poor German who thought to be at the height of civilisation whilst the African greatly educated, let her eat and share her meal and at the same time was thinking :; how mad these Europeans are.’
 
 

Update 8:00 PM, Jan 19 2012
The original post in Spanish, published a few days ago in the most respected Spanish newspaper EL PAIS: El Negro , says that this is a true story. However, it is not. Check Rosy’s comment below: the story is based in a short movie, winner of Cannes Palme D’Or

1 min reading: the law and the fruits

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Illustration by Ken Crane
In the desert, fruit was scarce. God called one of his prophets and said:

– Each person may only eat one fruit a day.

The custom was obeyed for many generations, and the ecology of the place was preserved. Since the remaining fruit supplied seeds, other trees appeared. Soon, the entire region was turned into fertile soil, which was the envy of other towns.

But the people continued to eat one fruit a day – they remained faithful to what the ancient prophet of their forefathers had told them. However they never allowed the inhabitants of other villages to take advantage of the abundant harvest with which they were rewarded each year.

The result was that fruit rotted on the ground.

God called a new prophet and said:

– Let them eat as much fruit as they like. And ask them to share the abundance with their neighbors.

The prophet came to the town with the new message. But he was stoned – for by now the custom was ingrained in the hearts and minds of each of the inhabitants.

With time, the younger villagers began to question the barbaric old custom. But, since the tradition of the elders was unbending, they decided to abandon the religion. Thus, they could eat as much fruit as they wished, and give the rest to those in need of food.

The only people who remained faithful to the local church, were those who considered themselves saints. But in truth they were unable to see how the world changes, and recognize how one must change with it.

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

 

Videocast

As you probably noticed >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
CoelhoOffice is already online. It will be updated every Monday.
Thank you Ken Crane for the beautiful illustrations

Como notaram >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
o novo CoelhoOffice já está online. Será atualizado toda segunda-feira.
Obrigado Ken Crane pelas lindas ilustrações

Love
Paulo

CoelhoOffice 03 – On writing (III) : Inspiration

Videocast #3 – Paulo Coelho talking about inspiration to write a book.

Videocast #3 – Paulo Coelho falando sobre inspiração para escrever um livro.

Videocast #3 – Paulo Coelho hablando acerca de inspiración para escribir un libro.

First week of publication…

Spiegel Best 16Jan_


And ALEPH jumps to #3 in both Der Spiegel (above) and FOCUS best seller list.
Vielen Dank Deutschland!

My Secret Life: Paulo Coelho, 64, author

Excerpts from the interview published this past Saturday, Jan 14, in Independent UK. To read the full Q&A, CLICK HERE

The household I grew up in… doesn’t exist anymore, but my childhood will never disappear.

You wouldn’t know it but I am very good at… archery. The gigantic tension before the shooting of an arrow, and the total relaxation seconds later is my way of connecting to the universe.

You may not know it but I’m no good at… singing. However, every time there is a guitar around I will sing, and my real friends will tolerate it.

I wish I had never worn… an old hippie jacket, covered in patches and metal stars.

My favourite item of clothing… Japanese yukatas [kimonos].

It’s not fashionable but I like
… to sleep naked.

My favourite work of art... The Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck, the most important painting in the world. With all due respect, the Mona Lisa is overrated.

My favourite building... Chartres Cathedral, in France. Original stained-glass windows and a labyrinth that reminds me of the journey we take from life to death.

A book that changed me… Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller. It was while reading this that I discovered you need to use blood to write every single page.

Movie heaven
… Once Upon a Time in the West, followed by Lawrence of Arabia.

My greatest regret… I don’t have one. I’ve done everything I wanted to do, even if I have had to pay a very high price – which has been the case most of the time.

My secret crush... Audrey Hepburn.

My real-life villain... Fundamentalists – and you can find them in every single religion on this planet.

The last time I cried… I cry very easily. It can be a movie, a phone conversation, a sunset – tears are words waiting to be written.

My five-year plan… To continue to breathe.