Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Paulo Coelho

Are you Normal? (May 15, 2009)


            Paulo Coelho published a new book “The Solitude of the Victor” (La Solitude du Vainqueur).  It is supposed to be another novel, this time around with a story, and a gory one to boot.  Coelho cannot help it: you start the novel and you have to deal right away with another list of prescriptions.  The list is of 43 ways to act normal; I will reduce the list to the most cynical of characteristics:


1)      What is normal is to forget who we are so that we may focus on productivity and generating money.

2)      Setting rules and regulations for waging wars (The Geneva Convention)

3)      Investing the best period of your life on diploma that is not marketable in the work place.

4)      Working from 8 to 5 with no pleasure for our retreat compensation (that does not materialize eventually)

5)      Taking our hard earned retreat and no where to go for our diminishing supply of energy and dreams.

6)      Assimilating the dictum that power is more important than money; that money is far more important than happiness.

7)      Understanding that a “non ambitious person” is necessarily the one who cannot make money.

8)      Believing in what is printed.

9)      Despise what is earned the easiest way without the “necessary sacrifices”

10)    Follow the mode

11)    Invest mostly on the exterior beauty

12)    Faking to be normal but implicitly believing that we are far superior than most people

13)    Controlling extreme expressions in laughter or emotions.

14)    As we grow older believing that we have acquired the necessary wisdom.

15)    Patronize charity events and believing that we shared in our responsibility for a fairer world.

16)    Eating three times a day even if we are not that hungry

17)    Believing that others are more beautiful, more intelligent, and more capable.

18)    Never venture beyond what we think is our limited capacity.

19)    Always claiming that “I did my best”.

20)    Avoiding depression by watching more TV.

21)    Thinking that women don’t like footballs or boxing; that men don’t like decoration or cooking.

  Thinking that lack of courteous manners and polite gestures are sure sign of strong manhood.

The Jante Law: Mediocrity is King, (March 24, 2009)

In Scandinavia, the Jante Law said: “You are worthless.  Nobody is interested in what you think. Mediocrity and anonymity are your best choices.  If you act according to the Jante Law, then all your problems will vanish”

This Janti Law is the most common and most adhered to principle by most countries and people, though it was never formulated as clearly or known as the Law of the Lands of Mediocrity. 

The Janti Law was stated in the novel “A refugee surpasses his limits” by Aksei Sandemose in 1933.  This law was disseminated recently when the Norwegian Princess Martha-Louise married the writer Ari Behn.

Ari Behn was a recognized and acclaimed writer before he wedded the princess.  After the marriage, Ari was vehemently critiqued and lambasted by writers for no other reason but for daring to surpass his class status.  That is how the world got familiar with this Scandinavian Law. 

By the way, Princess Martha-Louise embroidered her gown with the names of who counted in her life for her 30h birthday, and many started to emulate her generous spirit.

People always claim that many wars would not have started if an anti-Janti Law was preponderant:

1. That people knew that they are worth far more than what they think. 

2. That what you do on earth is far more important than what you believe in;

3. That acting against injustice and expressing your opinions against tyrants will ultimately prevail.

That might be so, but it was still an abstract notion until 2003, when the King of Mediocrity, George W. Bush, prevailed against all the world community and launched his preemptive war against Iraq.

The Spanish PM Aznar defied the wishes of 90% of the Spanish citizens and so did the British PM Blair. The UN did not cover the operation.

Turkey declined 26 billions dollar in aid and denied the US troops a right to cross the Turkish land or launch military operations against its neighboring State.

Colin Powell was forced to forge falsified proofs, documents, and aerial photographs that Hans Blix, the inspector of Iraq disarmament on nuclear and chemical engines of war, contested for many months.

Britain Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, went as far as justifying this war on moral grounds.

The European Nations and their people were against this war.  The Arab States unified to decry this war.  The entire world demonstrated for two months but the King of Mediocrity prevailed.

No, it was not all in vain. Things have changed even if a few leaders still feel shy to denouncing the genocide that the Zionist State perpetrated against the Palestinians in Gaza.

The results of democratic elections are recognized, even if they don’t suit the philosophy of a few powerful nations.  A new urgency for diplomatic resolutions is taking over in world politics.  Sure, financial and economic downturns are helping that climate of overture, but Mediocrity is subsiding among nations.

The common people of nations are reawakening to known fundamentals that terrorism and religious extremism are the symptoms of fear, inequality in rights, injustices, and lack of freedom of speech coupled with anemic economies and lack of opportunities and professional diversity in jobs.

In order to establish just, prosperous, and democratic political systems around the world we have got to believe that it is very possible because it is right and urgent.

Note 1:  The theme of this post was inspired by “Like a Flowing River” by Paulo Coelho with re-arrangement.

Note 2: This post was published over three years before the Arab mass uprising and the Occupy Wall Street protests in the US and in Europe

The Jar of Glue, (March 17, 2009)


Paulo Coelho recounts that he had an important trip in the morning, that he did what he had to do yesterday, and that in the morning he checked his mails and realized that his afternoon is free. He had nothing to do: Paulo had taken care of everything.  

Coelho realized that his jar of glue is empty, but he had no gluing task to do for the afternoon.  Still, the idea that he needs to purchase a jar of glue disturbed his mind and prevented him to focus on his meditation.  It took him hours of struggle to shake off this insignificant disturbance before he managed to listen and converse with his soul.

So many times at work we are conscious that all that need to be done was finished in the morning, and that tomorrow’s tasks can wait for tomorrow.  In the meantime we are practically “redundant“, but we cannot shake off the feeling that something more should be done, since we are paid to log in 8 hours of work. 

We fret, we meddle in others tasks, our nervousness becomes contagious, and the entire workplace is disturbed and anxious.  All that was required is to acknowledge that you have finished your job and you deserve some time off to cool it down and converse with your soul.

What! Being in harmony with your soul isn’t an important job?

Since when did material tasks have presented the only solutions to stability of the mind and body?

For a true dream idea we should be satisfied with board and lodging.

An enterprising man got bankrupt.  He discovered a decrepit residence that matched his dream.  The owner of the property agreed, for board and lodging, to let the ruined man to restore the residence.  Within a year the dream house was standing in its former glory and the man’s spirit shining like a gold coin.


Maybe it is a congenital posture; I come to the realization that thinking and keeping a straight back are not compatible. Elegance and a straight posture are a pair of matching gloves: I should be content, occasionally, to socialize with non-thinking gatherings.


The best value you can boast of is the pleasure of facing choices.  It is the best training ground for making your own choices.


I like to pray and ask the Lord to hurl at me all kinds of temptations, all the times, for me to select among them, the temptations.

By the by, I will test them all. 

With Your grace Lord, I should grace the temptations and salvage my spirit. 

If I fail, so what!  I was challenged, I accepted with my own free will, and I tried my best




June 2023

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