Tag Archives: quote

Alchemist – A fascinating quote

And this quote, comes from the alchemist himself in The Alchemist:

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.

That may indeed sound to be too strong a statement, especially for those of us who are strong believers in existentialism, but there is a clear sense of optimism (of our influence) and responsibility (of our actions) in it. The quote is when a Roman centurion goes to find Jesus and felt to be in the presences of the divine. There is a slightly related story in Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss.

Having had the privilege of visiting the holy land, I can slightly picture some of the settings, and that makes these two stories so much more interesting for me.

Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau

“In a Nutshell”® rating: 6/10.

Excellent Movie Quote:

If you google for just Elise, you get more than 357,000 hits.  And none of them is about you.

Adjustment Bureau is the non-machine version of the Matrix.  The premise is that everything is controlled, and there is a clean hierarchy, and structured, and the top person is called the “chairman” who is actually a distributed person, and can be different for different people.  At this point, it just feels that the script writers ran out of creative juices.  Oh well.

Adjustment Bureau

Overall, the movie is OK.  Barely good enough to be seen in the plane.  Probably, the directors and the script writers need to realize that it is not sufficient that the movie or the book have a nice conclusion at the end (which Adjustment Bureau does indeed have).  It is also important that the main premise be compelling.  To open doors using a bowler hat and have those doors open (literally!) in many different places, and then to end with conclusion that free will is important is a bit of a non sequitur.


Life, Struggles and Shoelaces

That’s the thing with life: it never really allows time to celebrate the successes, as the next challenge is always round the corner. No sooner have you triumphantly tied one shoelace without inadvertently triggering an international incident that there’s another waiting for the same treatment.

–Rob Smith, Guardian

“Everyday was there to be lived..” – Alchemist

Another wonderful quote from the Alchemist:

Every day was there to be lived or to mark one’s departure from this world. … He had lived every one of his days intensely since he had left home so long ago.  If he died tomorrow, he would already have seen more than other shepherds, and he was proud of that.

Reminds me of Dasvidaniya, even though Dasvidaniya was more about catching up.

3 Selected Quotes from “The Alchemist”

"The Alchemist" by Paulo CoelhoAs a book that has sold alzillion copies, has been translated into so many languages, and has been read by so many people, The Alchemist needs no formal review.  Instead, here are 3 quotes from the book, that are phenomenal. While no replacement for reading the book, the quotes do convey what I as a reader took away from the book.

Quote 1: Part I, Page 39 of paperback version.

I’m going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one person betrayed me.  I’m going to hate those who have found their treasure because I never found mine.  And I’m going to hold on to what little I have, because I’m too insignificant to conquer the world.

These are Santiago’s feelings right after being robbed of all his  belongings.  The three fears that Santiago has are quite distinct: (i) fear of becoming apprehensive of strangers, (ii) fear of hatred of successful people, (iii) fear of becoming petty and miserly.

Readers identify with different aspects of the protagonist, and this fear is the aspect that I identify with the most.  I certainly hope that small or big setbacks will not set me back. Whether this is the ideal or my current self may be irrelevant.

Quote 2: Part II, Page 64.

The hills of Andalusia were only two hours away, but there was an entire desert between him and the Pyramids.  Yet the boy felt that there was another way to regard this situation: he was actually two hours closer to his treasure … the fact that the two hours had stretched into an entire year didn’t matter.

What could be more literary way of articulating the economic theory of sunk cost?  In the preface, Coelho mentions 4 major obstacles in realizing your destiny: (i) the notion of impossibility, (ii) the shackles of love, (iii) fear of defeats and (iv) the fear of success.  By the time we overcome some of these obstacles, we can think – Oh, but we have already lost too much time. Or, we can think: this is where we are, now what?

Quote 3: Part II, Page 68.

But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things.  When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

Each decision is the starting point of a new journey – a fork in the definition of a new parallel universe – a realization of our potential.  Whether we realize our potential positively or negatively is subject to interprCastle Falletation.  Similarly, decisions themselves are rarely right or wrong – mostly it is just our interpretation of the result of the decision that was taken, and our estimate of the road not taken.  How can we compare a road taken, with all its rewards and its pitfalls that we experienced concretely, with a road that we never took and of which cannot reasonably guess rewards and travails?  Yet, we do it all the time.

And how about the indecisive ones amongst us?  Not making a decision is akin to making a passive decision of maintaining status quo.  This is true in a corporate sense as well – decision making is a key distinguishing reason for companies performing average, and companies performing well.

Facts and Information

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Mark Twain

Every day some or other news comes about that says “Car sales highest in one year!”, “Unemployment at lowest point in 36 years!”.  And this, and that!  For one thing, almost all of those facts are true. For second, they are also ridiculous misrepresentations.  (Unless of course you happen to be reading National Enquirer, in which they are all false but serious representations.)

This doesn’t happen just in the media and news (although, media has the first right to blame due to its power).  I came across a recommendation about a candidate: “One of my top 25% students in last 16 years.”  So does that mean you had to go back 16 years so that he would squeeze into the 25%?  Was he not the top 25% of students this past year?

Rum Raisin

Indifference to the ideals of the bourgeois

“His (Steppenwolf’s) tendency is to explain Mozart’s perfected being, just as a schoolmaster would, as a supreme and special gift rather than as the outcome of his immense powers of surrender, and suffering, of his indifference to the ideals of the bourgeois,..”

Indifference to the ideals of the bourgeois – good stuff, isn’t it?