Communiqué to The Public
The Second Philosophical Council of Keeferton
KNOW BY ALL YE PRESENT, that on the Twentieth, Twenty-first, and Twenty-second days of July, in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Thirteen, there took place in the Lands of Keeferton, County of Rockbridge, Commonwealth of Virginia, the Second Philosophical Council (hereinafter “Council”) consisting of Mademoiselle Connie Lum and Messrs. Timothy Eaton and Dan Turello, and hosted by the Steward of Keeferton, Timothy Keefer.
As the world awaited the outcome of this Second Philosophical Council, the participants continued on the theme of Keeferton Councils and engaged the question of “How shall we then live?” this time presented by the thinking of Paulo Coehlo in his book The Alchemist. The Council also debated the responses to its earlier Call for Sentences, and unfinished business from the First Council. As documented below, the event demonstrably helped to answer the questions that hinder all of mankind. Thanks are not necessary for performing one’s duty.
- The Council considered whether the Personal Legend or treasure of The Alchemist was similar to the Campbellian notion of “following one’s bliss.” The Council addressed and resolved the following issues:
Does each person have their own Personal Legend or Heroic Journey?
In The Alchemist, the intervening event of the dream caused the hero to no longer be content with shepherding. It required him to give something up.
Is it not it easier to go off and find a personal legend or follow one’s bliss when one has little to lose? Does that mean possessions, status, wealth and relationships imprison us from doing what we need to do?
There is the inherent importance of following one’s dreams.
There are risks to following one’s bliss or Personal Legend.
Conclusion: Yes.Is there an outside force at work?
Do we have a “calling” which assumes an outside force or do these ideas come from one’s own mind? Is there a hand at play in personal destiny? Is there something outside of science going on?
There is the notion of a Timeless Other that is everywhere present and fills all things and is neither good nor bad – which are themselves subjective values.
Does The Alchemist stand for the notion that the universe always conspires in our favor when we really want something? Are we always intended to succeed if we really try or pursue our bliss or treasure? What about failure in life? Isn’t there a lot of lying to oneself in life, such as telling ourselves stories?
Is there is a force at play in what humans call “beginner’s luck”?
Conclusion: No conclusion reached.
Is The Alchemist just a very individualist-centered book?
Is The Alchemist only the power of positive thinking? But the Council believes that negative thinking will not get you anywhere.
The value of the individual is a key message of the book. But what about the notion of the Soul of the World and our impact on it. Is this not humanistic?
Role of Evolution
Evolutionary impact on the mind causes certain things to resonate. Earlier societies placed great importance on ritual, the meaning of stories, and adventure. There are important strategies for species success – which gives rise to positive meanings and purpose in stories.
Adventure and discovery are important to disperse populations, which is key to evolutionary survival.
Conclusion: That which resonates in The Alchemist is explainable due to evolutionary success of the human species.
Mr. Eaton’s presence at the wave pool in the world attraction known as Water Country USA changes the history of the world.
Conclusion: This is truism.
- The Call for Sentences:
Commentary is located in the Endnotes, below.No. 1. Vanilla ice-cream makes the heart grow fonder.[i]
Result: ACCEPTED as qualified as a self-evident banality.
Notable commentary: “I’m enjoying the vanilla of the moment, rather than the chocolate of possibility.” Mr. Eaton, 22:05, July 20, 2013.No 2. You may be right; but if you’re not effective, what difference does it make?[ii]
Result: ACCEPTED as qualified by the Author, below.No. 3. If we are always the first person, when are we the existential third man?[iii]
Result: CONSENSUS on being the existential third man as a matter of perspective, including perspective on yourself. Author: Lacks concurrence.No. 4– Death – is it relief from our withering physical husks?[iv] (Added by unanimous consent.)
RESULT: Time expired.
- FINDING No. 8 held over from First Philosophical Council: In recognition that early human storytelling was dominated by animal myths, the Second Council is asked to take up the meaning and importance of the late appearing animal themes during the First Council which include: The Owl Princess; The Dream Mouse; The Mystical Cat; The Seventeen Magical Turkeys and the myth of “The Woodpecker and the Double Lanternpost.”
RESULT: No action taken.
“If you’re going to obey anyway, you might as well make the other person feel good about it.” Mr. Keefer, July 20, 2013,10:00.
“I’m going to get my stuff out — metaphorically speaking.” Mr. Eaton, 10:01, July 20, 2013.
“I think you were having some angst,” asserted Ms. Lum.
“Oh, I’m always having angst,” confessed Mr. Keefer.
“I loved that about you!” declared Mr. Eaton.
“We’re doing the work of the mind.” Mr. Eaton, 11:43, July 20, 2013.
“If they don’t like my answers, they must perceive their questions as rhetorical.” Mr. Eaton, 12:10, July 20, 2013.
“The more encouragement I can provide to those completing a project, the more distance I place between the project and myself.” Mr. Eaton, 12:33, July 20, 2013.
Observation offered by Dr. Turello: “I have seen the first animal omen: The Giant Turtle of Middlebrook!” 13:45, July 20, 2013. (See Finding 3., above.)
“We want to put the bone out for the bobcat.” Mr. Keefer, 13:35, July 20, 2013. (See Finding 3., above.)
“We should laugh at the marking of time.” Mr. Keefer, 13:52, July 20, 2013.
“Most of the action happened when she was in 6th grade and I was in 7th grade.” Mr. Eaton, 13:59, July 20, 2013.
“It’s a full body movement,” professed Dr. Turello.
“If you say so,” conceded Mr. Eaton, 14:00, July 20, 2013
“The more control you try to have, the less control you will find you have.” Mr. Keefer, 14:13, July 20, 2013.
Mr. Eaton took exception to Conclusion No. 3, in that, he did not see the individualistic approach of The Alchemist as a danger.
- We are designed, at a minimum through evolution and perhaps through the agency of some “other,” to engage in some form of Personal Legend or Heroic Journey.
- The Alchemist is a great story because it resonates with us through the themes that have led humans to be a great success as a species.
- A danger of The Alchemist is its individualistic approach, as opposed to concern for communal contribution or success.
- Finding No. 8 from the First Philosophical Council is held over to the Third Philosophical Council.
Entered this, the 31st day of August in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Thirteen, and in the Twelfth Year of Keeferton, by our hands:
Connie Y. Lum, Analyst
Timothy Wm. Eaton, A.E.
Rdr. Timothy J. Keefer, Esq., Steward of Keeferton
Daniele Turello, Ph.D.
ENDNOTES – Identities masked to protect against bias.
 This was a favorite of Mr. Eaton’s.
[i] Debate on Sentence No. 1:
AUTHOR: Self-evident claim; vanilla ice cream makes you happy.
Inquisitor 1: This may be a general statement of fact, but it is not a universal statement of fact.
Inquisitor 2: Chocolate is preferred; but would enjoy vanilla in the moment. AUTHOR: We can scrap it as a truism and classify it as a mostly self-evident banality.
[ii] Debate on Sentence No. 2:
AUTHOR presented the sentence.
Inquisitor 1: What about future benefit for having taken the stand for truth, even if not effective at the time? Is there no value in absolute truth?
Inquisitor 3: What about situations where holding on to the truth has a universal detrimental effect with no benefit?
AUTHOR: The answer to the question is situation dependent. The extent to which something is true depends on the lens through which it is observed. The situation is the lens.
[iii] Debate on Sentence No. 3:
AUTHOR: Isn’t everything from our perspective as the first person?
Inquisitor 3: I think we are always the first person.
Inquisitor 2: Isn’t it a matter of perspective?
Inquisitor 4: From Inquisitor 4’s perspective, my life is always in the first person.
Debate ensued on the meaning of existential.
AUTHOR: The existential third man is the reporter who is also transformed by what and why he observes. Can we be both the first person and existential third man simultaneously?
Inquisitor 4: Yes!
Inquisitor 2: It’s all a matter of perspective.
Inquisitor 3: The sentence is a question of semantics.
Inquisitor 2: The when is a matter of perspective.
Inquisitor 3: Whenever more than one other person is involved.
Inquisitor 2: You can perceive your own situation as a third person.
AUTHOR: But that is just a different perspective on yourself; you are not changed by the observation of others.
Inquisitor 4: You have to choose the perspective.
AUTHOR: But aren’t we always changed by our observations of others whether we choose it or not?
[iv] Debate on Sentence No. 4:
Inquisitor 2: Is that often but not always the case? When you are young and healthy, for example.
Inquisitor 1: Is it just so final that it is not anything? Or is the relief just before death? Example: Steve Jobs saying “Wow!” at moment of death.
Inquisitor 3: So it’s not really death.
AUTHOR: I think we will find out when we get there.