What nourishes the Soul of the World in The Alchemist?
The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness and other emotions.
In The Alchemist, Santiago goes on a journey for his own Personal Legend (and treasure). He learns about the Personal Legend, which comes from the Soul of the World. It is a “mysterious force” that appears to be negative, but is the only thing that shows you your persona legend.
The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy and jealousy. (p. 22)
Santiago learns that the principle of all things is called the Soul of the World in alchemy. The Soul of the World allows us to understand “anything on the face of the earth” because “it was the language in which all things communicated” (p. 83). The Soul of the World is also the Soul of God, which is also part of our own soul.
The Soul of the World is always a positive force. When you want something “with all your heart” you are closest to it (p. 81).
Everyone has an obligation to discover one’s Personal Legend. It is our most important obligation, or our only obligation.
Santiago does not really understand alchemy or the purpose of the Personal Legend. He goes along with it since the Englishman seems to know what he is talking about. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination: the treasure turns out to be in his hometown all along.