What philosophy of life does the alchemist seem to espouse?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The alchemist seems to be suggesting that understanding life is a voyage.  One has to be willing to take part in this journey, to leave one's comfort zone, in order to transform what is into what can or should be.  Like alchemy, change is a critical ingredient in this philosophy of life.  As a character in the work, the alchemist embodies the need for individuals to envision a transformative vision of life.  They do not need to be bound by what is.  As Santiago observes, they should not like sheep.  Rather, the alchemist suggests that a guiding philosophy of life should be to embrace what might be.  

The pursuit of Personal Legends becomes a major part of this philosophy in which individuals find their voice, act upon their passion, and activate the condition of being that differentiates us from the banal world of animals.  The transformational element of life is both critical in alchemy and the alchemist's philosophy on how to live it.   For the alchemist's philosophy of life, questions, obstacles, and insecurity are all the necessary ingredients of being in the world.  The defining element of our humanity seems to be the ability to transform these into meaning and embracing them as part of our identity.  Life becomes a journey where meaning and purpose is contingent on what an individual finds within it.


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