AP Interview: Coelho says Sony hack threatens all

GENEVA – The bestselling author said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press that he was prepared to make himself an example — even if it meant inviting criticism and potential threats — if Sony Pictures had taken him up on his $100,000 offer for the rights to its cancelled film.

Defending these values is a matter of the highest concern for “everyone on the planet, everyone who believes in freedom of expression,” he said, drawing parallels with the plight of fellow author Salman Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after his novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from the Iranian government.

His plan was to release the film on his blog in the unlikely event Sony took him up on his spontaneous offer via Twitter for the controversial film “The Interview” that Sony cancelled after threats from anonymous hackers.

“I thought that they could take the offer so as not to lose face,” Coelho said. “You know, ‘In a gesture of good will, we are going to accept $100,000 even if we put $44 million in this movie because we believe in freedom of information.’ … Tomorrow the film would be there.”

The author of “The Alchemist” acknowledged he would have been afraid if he had released the film, particularly because he travels and could be vulnerable, but he would have been more ashamed of himself if he didn’t at least try.

“So live with fear or live with shame? Better to live with fear,” he said at his luxury Geneva home, where his phone and Internet service were mysteriously out of service in an apparent attack directed at him. “In the name of something that is more important than I am, as a physical person.”

Sony defended its decision after President Barack Obama said during a press conference that the studio had “made a mistake” in dropping “The Interview,” a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, and he pledged the U.S. would respond “in a place and manner and time that we choose” to the attack that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government.

Sony said the cancellation happened only because the country’s top theatre chains pulled out. “This was their decision,” Sony said in a statement.

Coelho made clear he wasn’t defending the movie itself but rather that he decried the “culture of fear” and apparent willingness to “negotiate with terrorists” that he said undercuts people’s freedom of expression and the principle of not negotiating with terrorists. He also expressed admiration for actor George Clooney’s attempt to highlight the same values of sticking one’s neck out to defend our freedom of information by putting forward a petition for Hollywood bigwigs to sign — though none did.

Clooney said the entertainment industry should seek release of “The Interview” online, telling the trade site Deadline that he urged Sony to “do whatever you can to get this movie out. Not because everybody has to see the movie, but because I’m not going to be told we can’t see the movie. That’s the most important part.”

Coelho said he was unable to reach any executives to discuss the decision not to screen the film before a projected Dec. 25 release, but he thinks the studio ignored his offer because of fear that more Sony hacked emails would be divulged.

“What I’m doing here is much more a kind of political statement: fight for you rights,” he said. “We live in a moment where fear rules, and this cannot continue.”

Fighting injustice

By Paulo Coelho

T.H. Huxley says:

“The consequences of our actions are scarecrows for the cowards and beams of light for the wise. The world is a chessboard. The pieces are the gestures of daily life, the rules are the so-called laws of nature.”

Although he concentrates on what he is doing, the warrior of the light does not look on injustice with indifference. He knows that everything is one thing alone, that each individual action affects all the men on the planet, and if he sees someone being a victim of cowardly attacks, he uses his sword to put things in order.

But although he fights against oppression, at no moment does he try to judge the oppressor. Each one will answer for his acts before God, and that is why, once his task is accomplished, the warrior makes no further comment. A warrior of the light is in the world to help his brothers, not to condemn his neighbors.

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A day at the mill

By Paulo Coelho

At the moment my life is a symphony made up of three different movements: “many people,” “some people,” and “hardly anybody.” Each of these movements lasts about four months a year; they often come together during the same month, but they never get mixed up.

“Many people” are those moments when I am in touch with the public, editors and journalists. “Some people” happens when I go to Brazil, meet my old friends, walk along Copacabana beach, attend the occasional social event, but as a rule I stay at home.

But today I just want to dwell a little on the “hardly anybody” movement. Night has already descended on this small town of 200 people in the Pyrenees whose name I would rather keep a secret and where I recently bought an old mill transformed into a house. I wake up every morning to the roosters crowing, have my breakfast and go out for a walk among the cows and lambs and through the fields of wheat and hay. I contemplate the mountains and – unlike the “many people” movement – never try to think who I am. I have no answers, no questions, I live entirely for the present moment, in the understanding that the year has four seasons (yes, it may seem so obvious, but sometimes we forget that), and I transform myself like the landscape all around me.

At this moment I have no great interest in what is going on in Iraq, or Syria, or Afghanistan: like any other person who lives in the countryside, the most important news is the weather. Everyone who lives in this small village knows if it is going to rain, turn cold, or be very windy, because all that has a direct effect on their lives, their plans, their crops. I pass a farmer tending his field, we exchange a “good morning,” discuss the weather forecast and then go about what we were doing – he at his plough, I on my long walk.

I head back home, check the mail-box, the local newspaper informs me that there is a dance in the next village, a lecture in a bar in Tarbes – the big city with all of its 40,000 inhabitants (the firemen had been called out because a garbage bin had caught on fire during the night). The topic that is mobilizing the region involves a group accused of cutting down the plane trees that had caused the death of a young man riding his motorbike on a country road; this piece of news fills a whole page and several days of reporting about the “secret command” that is bent on revenging the death of the young biker by destroying the trees.

I lie down beside the brook that runs through my mill.

I rise and go to practice kyudo, the form of meditation with the bow and arrow that occupies me for an hour. It’s already lunchtime: I have a light meal and then notice a strange object in one of the rooms of the old building, with a screen and a keyboard, all connected – wonder of wonders – with a super-speed DSL line. I know that as soon as I press a button on that machine, the world will come to me.

I resist as long as I am able but then the moment is reached when my finger touches the “on” button and here I go again connected to the world, newspaper columns, books, interviews requests (I decided no to give more than 3 interviews a year),the news from Iraq and Afghanistan, requests, the message that the airline ticket will be arriving tomorrow, decisions to put off, and decisions to take.

For a few hours I work, because that is what I chose to do, because that is my personal legend, because a warrior of the light is aware of his duties and responsibilities. But in the “hardly anybody” movement, everything that appears on the computer screen is very distant, just as the mill seems to be a dream when I am in the “many people” or “some people” movements.

The sun starts to hide itself away, the button is turned to “off”, the world goes back to being just fields, the scent of the herbs, the mooing of the cows and the shepherd’s voice bringing his flock home to the shed at the side of the mill.

I wonder how I can move about in two such different worlds in the space of a single day: the answer escapes me, yet I know this brings me great pleasure and it makes me happy while I write down these lines.

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Words to the wind

EM PORTUGUES: Palavras ao vento

I was feeling very lonely when I left Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral right in the heart of New York.

Suddenly I was approached by an American:

“You are Mr. Coelho. I very much need to talk to you,” she said.

I was so enthused by this meeting that I began to talk about everything that was important to me. I spoke of magic, God’s blessings, love.
She listened to everything in silence, thanked me and went away.

Instead of feeling happy, I felt lonelier than before. Later on I realized that in my enthusiasm I had not paid any attention to what that Brazilian wanted.

Talk to me.

I tossed my words to the wind, because that was not what the Universe was wanting at that moment: I would have been much more useful if I had listened to what she had to say.


When I was travelling the road to Rome, one of the four sacred roads in my magical tradition, I realised, after almost twenty days spent entirely alone, that I was in a much worse state than when I had started.
In my solitude, I began to have mean, nasty, ignoble feelings.

I sought out my guide to the road and told her about this. I said that when I had set out on that pilgrimage, I had thought I would grow closer to God, but that, after three weeks, I was feeling a great deal worse.

‘You are getting better, don’t worry,’ she said.
‘The fact is that when we turn on our inner light, the first thing we see are the cobwebs and the dust, our weak points.

“They were there already, it’s just that you couldn’t see them in the darkness. Now it will be much easier for you to clean out your soul.’

Some questions and answers

Google Alerts is great. Sometimes I found things about myself that I did not expect. Today I found an old interview for an Indian newspaper – and here are some Q&A

Could you recall from your life where you felt the feminine face of God?

It was in 1992, when I was sitting inside of a grotto, in Lourdes. Since then, I try to accept my feminine side. When I write, I am a woman. I got pregnant from life, and I don’t know how the baby looks like. My pregnancy cycle lasts for two years, and I don’t take notes, I don’t make plans. The only thing that I know is that life put inside me a seed that will grow when time comes. Then, when time comes, I sit and write. Every creative act demands a respect for mystery, and I respect the mystery, without trying to understand it.

What do you feel when readers hug you and confess in public how the book had changed their lives?

First and foremost, I am a writer – and a writer is always facing the challenge of a new book. This is, for me, what makes life interesting: there is always a new book to be written, which involves pain, joy, suffering, relief, feelings of a person who is alive. I don’t think why this or that happened, and I became a worldwide celebrity. I think: “Am I honest in which I am doing? Can I still talk to my soul?
The secret of the success of my books, if there is one; it is the absence of secrets.

Did you expect this world wide success?
When I wrote “The Alchemist”, I was trying to understand my own life, and the only way that I could do it was through a metaphor. Then, the book – with no support of the press, because the media normally refuses to publish anything about an unknown writer – made its way to the readers, and the readers start to discover that we share the same questions. Little by little, the book started to travel abroad, and today is one of the best seller books of all times. But this success came slowly, based on a word-of-mouth promotion, and this gives me the sensation, the wonderful sensation that I am not alone.

In an Interview with Juan Arias of El País you confessed that, “Happiness to me is very abstract, To tell you the truth, I am never happy”.

The fact that I don’t search for happiness, does not mean that unhappiness is the choice. The right choice is “joy”. Challenges, defeats, victories, excitement, never being bored by this peaceful Sunday afternoon “happiness”.

As a best-selling author how far has consumerism affected you. You have to go through a corporate capitalist structure.

As Buddha said, first you have to have, then you can renounce everything. It is easy to make a chastity vow if you are impotent. Easier to make a poverty vow if you are incapable of earning money with your choice, your dream. I could buy a castle, but I bought a watermill, not because I feel guilty – I work hard – but because a watermill is close to my way of seeing life, and easier to maintain. As for my work, no publisher dares to ask me anything – I don’t see the point of “corporate capitalist structure”.

In The Alchemist you have said that you have to pay a price for the perusal of ones dream. What’s the price you paid in the journey with your dream?

A very high one. But I am glad that I paid this price for my dream, instead of paying the price of living someone else’s dreams.

You have been into an asylum twice. People like Michael Foucault have written about the power discourses that create madness. How do you see you days in the asylum?

I cannot summarize that. I wrote a whole book on my experience, “Veronica Decides to Die”. But one thing I can say: it was not a traumatic experience, to begin with. It was in my path, I had to see it as something that I must overcome, not as something I was victimized by.

If you meet a person who has a deep sense of worthlessness, who is broken, and has decided to end her life, what would you tell her?

Dare to be different. You are unique, and you have to accept you as you are, instead of trying to repeat other people’s destinies or patterns. Insanity is to behave like someone that you are not. Normality is the capacity to express your feelings. From the moment that you don’t fear to share your heart, you are a free person.

10 SEC READ:True importance (ENG, ESPA, PORT)

Illustration by Ken Crane

EM PORTUGUES CLICAR AQUI > A verdadeira importância

Jean was out walking with his grandfather in Paris.
At one point, they saw a shoemaker being insulted by a customer who claimed that there was something wrong with his shoes.
The shoemaker calmly listened to his complaints, apologised and promised to make good the mistake.

Jean and his grandfather stopped to have a coffee.
At the next table, the waiter asked a man if he would mind moving his chair slightly so that he could get by.
The man erupted in a torrent of abuse and refused to move.

‘Never forget what you have seen,’ said Jean’s grandfather.
‘The shoemaker accepted the customer’s complaint, while this man next to us did not want to move.

‘People who perform some useful task are not bothered if they hear some critics to their work, but people who do no useful work at all always think themselves very important and hide their incompetence behind their authority.’

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Quotes on love

“Inspirational quotes of love by Paulo Coelho … Healing music from Tom Kenyon .. Pictures all my own .. except the first one of Paulo Coelho …..”

Just found it in my Google Alerts. Thank you Weirena, and congratulations for your beautiful photos!

Christmas Stories (ebook, $ 0,99)

Christmas-Stories Contes-de-Noel
Amazon     iBooks
Amazon     iBooks
Contos-de-Natal Cuentos-de-Navidad
Amazon     iBooks
Amazon     iBooks
Amazon     iBooks


According to the dictionary: deep knowledge of things, natural or acquired; erudition; rectitude.

According to the New Testament: But it was what the world calls foolish that God chose to put the wise to shame with, and it was what the world calls weak that God chose to shame its strength with (Corinthians 1: 25-27).

According to Islam:
A wise man became a object of irony for the inhabitants of the city. One day he was walking down the main street with some of his disciples when a group of men and women began to insult him. The wise man went up to them and blessed them.

When they left, one of the disciples remarked: “They say terrible things, and you answer them with nice words.”
And the wise man replied: “Each one of us can only offer what he has.”

According to the Hassidic (Jewish) tradition: When Moses ascended to Heaven to write a certain part of the Bible, the Almighty asked him to place small crowns on some letters of the Torah. Moses said: “Master of the Universe, why draw these crowns?” God answered: “Because one hundred generations from now a man called Akiva will interpret them.”
“Show me this man’s interpretation,” asked Moses.

The Lord took him to the future and put him in one of Rabbi Akiva’s classes. One pupil asked: “Rabbi, why are these crowns drawn on top of some letters?”
“I don’t know.” Replied Akiva. “And I am sure that not even Moses knew. He did this only to teach us that even without understanding everything the Lord does, we can trust in his wisdom.”

A scene that I witnessed in 1997: Hoping to impress his master, a student of the occult whom I know read some manuals on magic and decided to buy the materials mentioned in the texts. With considerable difficulty he managed to find a certain type of incense, some talismans, a wooden structure with sacred characters written in an established order.
When we were having breakfast together with his master, the latter commented:
“Do you believe that by rolling computer wires around your neck you will acquire the efficiency of the machine? Do you believe that by buying hats and sophisticate clothes you will also acquire the good taste and sophistication of those who made them?

“Objects can be your allies, but they do not contain any type of wisdom. First practice devotion and discipline, and everything else will come to you later.”

Did you walk a path that wasn’t yours?

photo by Paulo Coelho

Have you ever felt that – without regret – you have chosen and are on the wrong path, and though you wish to be free of it, abandoning this road will cause much more chaos and hurt than staying on it? (Sue-Ann Marquis)

I had moments in my life that I absolutely knew that I was on the wrong path. For instance, when I became an executive for a record company.
My paycheck was good, I had a woman I loved next to me but… something vital was missing.

For a time, I had the impression that if I let go, it would cause much hardship for us. But inevitably the situation got unsustainable. I was truly unsatisfied with my life and started to notice that my soul was dying in the process.

I decided then to leave my job and travel for 6 months across Europe with Christina (this was back in 1982). This initial travel enabled me to encounter my master in Germany, then Amsterdam. From this moment on, I focused on trying to get as close as I could to my calling: being a writer.

However, it took an extra 4 years to actually be able to tell a story – my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella ( The Pilgrimage).
So – in order to answer your question: yes, I walked a path that wasn’t mine. I felt scared to leave this path that I knew so well. But the moment I stepped out, it turned out that all the demons I expected to face weren’t there at all. I had hardships of course, but all was worthwhile – because my soul was alive.

Thoreau quotes

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.

Dreams are the touchstones of our character.

What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.

Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality.

All this worldly wisdom was once the heresy of some wise man.

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.

Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.

Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends… Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.


Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher (and I must add, his book on Civil Disobedience (1849) was one of the major influences in my life )

Most common superstitions in Brasil

A bird in the house is a sign of a death

Never take a broom along when you move. Throw it out and buy a new one.

If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.

If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.

To kill a cat brings seven years of bad luck

It’s bad luck to leave a house through a different door than the one used to come into it.

A horseshoe brings good luck

If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin (metal), or your friendship will soon be broken.

Walking under a ladder has long been regarded a bad luck

If you broke a mirror, you would break your future.

Many Brazilians dress in white on Fridays

I thank all those

I thank all those who laughed at my dreams;
You have inspired my imagination.
I thank all who wanted to squeeze me into their scheme;
They have taught me the value of freedom.

I thank all who have lied to me;
You have shown me the power of truth.
I thank all those who have not believed in me;
You have expected me to move mountains.
I thank all those who have written me off;
You have aroused my courage.

I thank all those who have left me;
They gave me room to create.
I thank all those who have betrayed me and abused;
You have let me be vigilant.
I thank all those who have hurt me;
They have taught me to grow in pain.

More importantly, I thank all
Who love me as I am;
They give me the strength to live.

Jigsaw puzzle

During a trip I received a fax from my secretary.

“One glass brick was missing for the kitchen’s reform,” she wrote. “I am sending you the original project and what the mason will be doing in order to compensate the fault.”

On one side, there was the project my wife had designed: harmonious rows with an opening for ventilation.

On the other side, the project that solved the lack of the brick: a true jigsaw puzzle, where the glass squares were placed with no aesthetics whatsoever.

“Just buy the missing brick,” wrote my wife.

That was done and the original design was maintained. On that afternoon I kept thinking for a long time about it: how many times, because of a simple missing brick, we completely distort the original project of our lives!

Arrogance is normally a banal mask of cowardice

Epictietus (AD 55 – AD 135) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave in Greece, lived in Rome and was expelled and exiled to his homeland where he lived for most of his life.

During his exile, he created a way of teaching his disciples. Below, an excerpt of his book Discourses:

“Two things may happen when we meet someone: either we become friends or we try to convince this person to accept our convictions. The same happens when a live coal touches another piece of coal: it either shares its fire with it or it becomes suffocated for its size and ends up extinguished.”

“As generally we are insecure at first contact, we try showing indifference, arrogance or excessive humbleness. The result is that we stop being ourselves and things begin to stray toward a strange world that doesn’t belong to us.

“In order to avoid this to happen, allow your good feelings to be noticed right away. Arrogance is normally a banal mask of cowardice, but it ends up preventing important things from blossoming in your life.”

Fair price

Nixivan had gathered his friend for supper and was brewing a juicy piece of meat. Suddenly, he noticed they were out of salt.

Nixivan called his son: “Go to the village and buy salt. But pay the fair price for it; neither pricier nor cheaper.”

His son was surprised:

“I understand I shouldn’t pay more, father. But if we can bargain a little, why not save some money?”

“In a large city, this is advisable”he said. ” However, in a small city as ours, the entire village will notice it.”

His guest overheard their conversation and wanted to know why one shouldn’t buy salt for less.

Nixivan answered: “Those who sell underpriced salt, do it in a desperate need for money. Those who take advantage of the situation, show disrespect for the sweat and battle of a man that worked to produce something.”

“But that is too little to destroy a village.”

“In the beginning of the world, injustice was scant as well. But everyone that came afterwards added something, thinking it was not important, and see where we got today.”

Power and glory

A certain king of Spain who was very proud of his ancestors was known for his cruelty toward those who were weaker than him.

Once he was travelling with his retinue over a field in Aragon where years ago he had lost his father in a battle, when he came upon a holy man rummaging through an enormous pile of bones.

“What are you up to there?” asked the king. “All honour to Your Majesty!” said the holy man.

“When I heard that the king of Spain was coming here, I decided to gather the bones of your deceased father and deliver them to you. But no matter how hard I look, I cannot find them: they are just the same as the bones of peasants, the poor, beggars and slaves.”

The student and the horse

The master was an austere man, so the disciple decided to lead a life of sacrifice by sleeping on a bed made of straw.

After some time the master noticed a change in his disciple’s behaviour and decided to find out what was happening.

“I am climbing the steps of initiation,” was the answer.

“The white of my garments shows the simplicity of the search, the vegetarian food purifies my body, and the lack of comfort makes me think only of spiritual things.”

Smiling, the master took him to a field where a horse was grazing.

“Do you see that animal over there? His skin is white, he eats only herbs, and he sleeps in a barn with a floor covered in straw. Do you think that he looks like a saint, or that one day he will manage to become a true master?”

Good news

The Argentinean golfer Robert de Vincenzo went to the parking lot to get his car after having won an important tournament.

At that moment, a woman approached him. After congratulating him for his victory, she told him her son was at the edge of death and that she had no money to pay the hospital bills.

De Vincenzo immediately gave her part of the money he had won that afternoon.

A week later, at a lunch at the Professional Golf Association, he told this story to a couple of friends. One of them asked him if the woman was blond with a small scar under her left eye.

De Vincenzo agreed. “You were cheated,” his friend said.

“This woman is a swindler and is always telling the same story to all foreign golfers that show up here.”

“So there is no child at the edge of death?”


“Well, this was the best news I got this week!” said the golf player.