After Santiago arrives in the desert during his pursuit of his Personal Legend, he begins to realize that there is a universal language spoken by all humans, animals, and objects. He learns to speak to the sun and the wind by listening to the desert and by listening to his heart, which can speak the Language of the World. This Language allows him to access “The Soul of The World,” which is a God-like oneness of all things. The novel’s portrayal of a universal language and The Soul of The World demonstrates its theme of the interconnectedness of all things.
Santiago feels a great sense of unity with other people, places, and objects he encounters on his quest, and his ability to access this feeling of unity allows him to learn about the world. For example, the alchemist challenges Santiago to find life in the desert, and Santiago realizes that he does not need advanced skills to do this. He realizes that the interconnectedness of all things allows his horse to be aware of the world, and that life attracts life. He lets his horse lead him to rocks where a snake lives.
The alchemist, an unsurprisingly important figure in the novel given its title, nevertheless does not teach Santiago the literal practices of alchemy in which metals are processed and transformed into gold. But he does help Santiago see that the processes of alchemy, such as purifying and simplifying or observing something to learn from it, are applicable to all of life. For example, Santiago learns from the alchemist that studying the world will teach him everything he needs to know, just as studying the Englishman’s texts might have taught him the particulars of alchemy. Because of the interconnectedness of all things, the world itself is a great teacher. Any one thing, no matter how small, allows access to the entirety of creation. A metal can access and become gold because of this oneness, and Santiago can transform himself into the wind because of this oneness. The novel portrays tapping into the interconnectedness of things as the goal of both alchemy and the pursuit of one’s Personal Legend.
The Interconnectedness of All Things ThemeTracker
The Interconnectedness of All Things Quotes in The Alchemist
“You came so that you could learn about your dreams,” said the old woman.
“And dreams are the language of God. When he speaks in our language, I
can interpret what he has said. But if he speaks in the language of the soul,
it is only you who can understand.”
“In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you.”
Once again he saw that, in that strange land, he was applying the same lessons he had learned with his sheep. “All things are one,” the old man had said.
“Hunches,” his mother used to call them. The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it's all written there. “Maktub,” the boy said, remembering the crystal merchant.
“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.”
“I learned that the world has a soul, and that whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of things. I learned that many alchemists realized their destinies, and wound up discovering the Soul of the World, the Philosopher's Stone, and the Elixir of Life. But, above all, I learned that these things are all so simple that they could be written on the surface of an emerald.”
At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him. When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. Something that exerted the same force whenever two pairs of eyes met, as had theirs here at the well. She smiled, and that was certainly an omen—the omen he had been awaiting, without even knowing he was, for all his life. The omen he had sought to find with his sheep and in his books, in the crystals and in the silence of the desert.
“And I am a part of your dream, a part of your destiny, as you call it. That’s why I want you to continue toward your goal. If you have to wait until the war is over, then wait. But if you have to go before then, go on in pursuit of your dream. The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes. That’s the way it will be with our love for each other…Maktub,” she said. “If I am really a part of your dream, you'll come back one day.”
The camel driver understood what the boy was saying. He knew that any given thing on the face of the earth could reveal the history of all things. One could open a book to any page, or look at a person’s hand; one could turn a card, or watch the flight of the birds… whatever the thing observed, one could find a connection with his experience of the moment. Actually, it wasn’t that those things, in themselves, revealed anything at all; it was just that people, looking at what was occurring around them, could find a means of penetration to the Soul of the World.
But that the hand had a reason for all of this, and that only the hand could perform miracles, or transform the sea into a desert…or a man into the wind. Because only the hand understood that it was a larger design that had moved the universe to the point at which six days of creation had evolved into a Master Work. The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.
“You’re not going to die. You’ll live, and you’ll learn that a man shouldn’t be so stupid. Two years ago, right here on this spot, I had a recurrent dream, too. I dreamed that I should travel to the fields of Spain and look for a ruined church where shepherds and their sheep slept. In my dream, there was a sycamore growing out of the ruins of the sacristy, and I was told that, if I dug at the roots of the sycamore, I would find a hidden treasure. But I’m not so stupid as to cross an entire desert just because of a recurrent dream.”
The wind began to blow again. It was the levanter, the wind that came from Africa. It didn’t bring with it the smell of the desert, nor the threat of Moorish invasion. Instead, it brought the scent of a perfume he knew well, and the touch of a kiss—a kiss that came from far away, slowly, slowly, until it rested on his lips. The boy smiled. It was the first time she had done that. “I’m coming, Fatima,” he said.