The Alchemist

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Some time ago Mat Schifferstein gave me a new edition of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I had a worn down edition of this wonderful book, and it was in my top 100. This new edition has a rather mysterious preface and it has illustrations by Moebius.
I usually don’t care what edition my copy of a book is, I am only interested in the content. But in this case the illustrations of Moebius make the book even more interesting than it already was. I have lettered many Dutch editions of comics that Moebius did, and I never really was a fan of his stories, but man, can this guy draw. If you ever get a change to take a look at the drawings he made while he was in L.A for a while, and that were published in a book called Made in L.A., please do. It killed all my left over fragments of the desire to ever draw a comic story myself.
You probably have read The alchemist. Just like Kahlil Gibran’s The prophet, the book is part of almost every western household. And for good reasons: it is one of the rare books that give a glimpse at the Truths of Life without being a teaching or an explanation. The book simply shows how Life works by describing archetypical situations. My favourite Truth is the clue of the book: what I search for is right here where I am. Always and everywhere I am, with no exception. Even (and this is the important part) when I cannot see it, or even when I cannot even remember it.
Here is a fragment of another man that had a great influence on me, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. He changed his name to Osho later in his life, but I never understood why, and I still call him by the name he had when he first saw him on the television. It was the first time I saw somebody who talked about awakening and although I had no idea what he was talking about, I was impressed by his presence. I remember that I immediately called my brother, to tell him that he should turn on his television NOW. But he was already watching and just wanted to call me.
This talk is from a cassette tape that was in a box with several other tapes with talks by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, recorded by somebody who apparently lived in his ashram for a while.