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Discussion Question 6 for The Alchemist

Question answered by Kristine Knutter, former Manager of Student Chapters at PTPI.

Discussion Question 6 for The Alchemist

6. What does Cohelo mean by “love without ownership” and is it possible to have love without ownership?

Santiago missed Fatima terribly after he left her in search of his treasure. Before Santiago left, Fatima assured him that she would wait for him to return. Despite her reassurances, perhaps since they were not yet married, Santiago explored thoughts of loving someone without “owning” them.

I do think it’s possible to love someone without pledging your commitment to him or her and that it happens frequently. This happens when people date or when individuals fall in love with each other but are forbidden by their families to marry. I believe  it’s in most people’s nature to want commitment from and “ownership” of someone they love and they will choose commitment and marriage when it’s available. It’s emotionally hurtful to think that the person that you love could have romantic feelings for other person and a commitment and/or marriage soothes a person’s mind and reassures them that they won’t experience that hurt.

I think that like most people, Santiago, craved to be physically near to the one he loved, Fatima. When pursuing our dreams, however, sometimes we are separated from those we love. The alchemist shared powerful wisdom that should have consoled Santiago. He said, “love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love.” When people who love each other are separated, the two often recall past verbal or physical expressions of love to sustain them while they are separated. They also must exhibit trust and patience to sustain themselves.

I found a great blog post about Cohelo’s passages about “love without ownership.”
The opinions expressed by PTPI staff and other book club members are entirely their own and are not necessarily the views of  People to People International or that of PTPI’s Officers, Board of Directors and Board of Trustees.
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