Paulo Coelho: Existentialism

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Paulo Coelho, the renowned Brazilian author has interminably been categorised as an inspirational writer. His books have the capacityto bring in a fresh breath of air into the lives whose existence has become dull and meaningless. Every time he takes up a different issue, which is common to all, envelops it up in a wonderful philosophic story thus, showing the readers a ray of hope. The impact it hascreated,have made his novels time and again the international best seller. Coelho, while motivating his readers considers the existential questions, the ones that are debated by philosophers and counsellors. This paper of mine intends to talk over Paulo Coelho as an existential author as he discusses various problems in his two famous
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Existentialism is a 20th century philosophical approach which emphasizes the existence of human beings solely as the outcome of one’s choice. The path that the individual, being, a free and responsible agent chooses, determines their future developments. It emphasises the fact that there is no particular reason for such an existence. It even disregards the existence of all pervasive God or transcendental force to guide this existence. Everything that one sees today is the result of the decision taken by the individual, rather the choice made by the individual in the past.
The works of Soren Kierkegaard, Fredric Nietzsche, Karl Jaspers and Edmund Husserl are considered the precursors of existential philosophy though it was not labelled as existentialism at that time. The deep pessimism and void brought down by the World Wars and the Great Depression of 1930 put to question the very essence of human existence. The prevailing social scenario lead Jean Paul Sartre to lay the foundation of his monumental work BeingandNothingness: AnEssayonPhenomenologicalOntology(1943)where he demonstrates his principal – free will exists. His work was partly influenced by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s BeingandTime which was again a development of Edmund Husserl’s analysis of human
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It is the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy who makes a long journey from his homeland in Spain to the deserts of Egyptian pyramid in search of some hidden treasurer, himself unaware of what the treasure is.Santiago starts on his adventure without knowing the destiny or the route to achieve it. He leaves behind his family tradition of priesthood only to find an answer to his recurring dream of being a shepherd. Santiago, gives priority to his own choice, he listens to his heart. He is not guided by the external forcesthough they tend to be an obstacle in the course of his life. On his way, he meets several people like the Melchizedek – the king of Salem, the shopkeeper who gives him the job, the English man of the caravan, Fatima with whom Santiago falls in love, the Alchemist – the possessor of the elixir of life, the Gypsy women who knows about the pyramids of Egypt. Each one of them put different impressions on his mind for example the old king Melchizedek inspires him through the ‘Personal Legend’, which is “what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone when they are young knows what their Personal Legend is”. He goes on to add “when you want something allthe universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This enchanting line forms the theme of the book
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