What do you think about the camel driver's philosophy of life in The Alchemist? What are the advantages and disadvantages of his perspective?
In chapter six of The Alchemist, the camel driver tells Santiago his story as the caravan crosses the Sahara. He had been a prosperous farmer and had even earned enough to make the Muslim's required pilgrimage to Mecca. He thought he had his life in order and that it would run smoothly until he died. Instead, one day the earth began to "tremble" and a Nile flood destroyed his trees. He had to become a camel driver. However, rather than despair and grow bitter, the camel driver learned that he shouldn't be afraid of losing material possessions. He learned from Allah that he doesn't need to fear uncertainty as long as he is capable of making enough to meet his wants and needs. Further, he states the following:
"We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it's our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand."
The advantage of this perspective is that the camel driver is not driven by fear. He has the confidence that he lives within a universe run by a higher power. He has peace of mind. I think it is a wise philosophy because it gives him freedom from anxiety and because he sees a larger picture than the merely material. The disadvantage is that he might lose the ambition to strive; he might become content to do less and be less in life than he otherwise might have.