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Home arrow Psychology arrow The Life and Creative Works of Paulo Coelho : A Psychobiography from a Positive Psychology Perspective
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Friendship

In “The pilgrimage”, Coelho only mentions his friends at home in Brazil once; they are on his mind at the beginning of the journey (Coelho, 2003b, p. 20). Friendship is not a directly addressed important issue; however, it is a topic that is expressed in the relationship between Coelho and Petrus. Petrus is introduced as Coelho’s guide and as his master (e.g. Coelho, 2003b, p. 197). However, during the journey a kind of friendship develops between them. Two nights before their shared journey ends, Petrus is sad and serious, guiding Coelho through the breathing exercise (Coelho, 2003b, p. 188). Coelho and the reader realise that the journey is coming to an end, it is the time of farewell and time to reflect on and recite the start and the process until the end (Coelho, 2003b, p. 189). Coelho concludes:

I was hearing the most unexpected farewell in my life. The person with whom I had had the most intense bond was saying good-bye right there in a midjourney - in an oily-smelling train yard, with me forced to keep my eyes closed (p. 192).

He continues: “Petrus was still sitting on the locomotive. I did not want to say anything, because I am Brazilian and also emotional” (Coelho, 2003b, p. 192). The emotional attachment shows the friendship that has developed, the strong bond between the two men, the social connectedness that was built, the openness and trust that were created.

Once again, Coelho recognises the sadness in the eyes of Petrus during the final ritual of the tradition (Coelho, 2003b, p. 197) that re-emphasises the friendship, based on their common journey and development experiences. This work shows the deep friendship of Coelho, his ability to connect to others, to build up a friendship.

Love

The topic of love is an important concept that is used in three different ways, while the theory of Myers et al. (2000) reduces love to an individual relationship with another person. In the creative work, love is described in terms of eros, philos and agape. Eros is defined as the love that exists between two people (Coelho, 2003b, p. 95). Petrus explains that “Philos is love in the form of friendship. It’s what I feel towards you and others. When the flame of eros stops burning, it is philos that keeps a couple together. (...) Agape is the total love. It is the love that consumes people who experience it” (Coelho, 2003b, p. 98). Agape combines eros and philos.

In terms of love, Myers et al. (2000, p. 257) define characteristics of healthy love relationships as: “(a) the ability to be intimate, trusting, and self-disclosing with another person.” Both, Coelho and Petrus build a relationship during the journey in which they trust each other. Coelho accepts Petrus as his master and obeys him, as the tradition requires. To obey someone blindly needs trust and an intimate relationship. After the first exercise, Coelho wants to share his experiences with Petrus (Coelho, 2003b, p. 28), which can be interpreted as a sign of trust and intimacy that reflects a deeper love.

During the journey, Coelho loves: He expresses affection towards the end of the journey for his environment, the landscape (Coelho, 2003b, p. 214) and human beings. He (b) receives affection and expresses affection (Myers et al., 2000). In Chapter 1 - Arrival - Coelho describes his strong feelings of love for his wife and the world and accepts loving them in the form of a long and affectionate kiss (Coelho, 2003b, p. 11).

Other aspects, such as (c) the capacity to experience or convey non-possessive caring that respects the uniqueness of another; (d) the presence of enduring, stable, intimate relationships in one’s life (e) concern for the nurturance and growth of others; and (f) satisfaction with one’s sexual life or the perception that one’s needs for physical touch and closeness are being met, or both” are hardly referred to (Myers et al., 2000). Coelho does not show non-possessive caring for another person (however, he is not required to do so during the journey). He only seems to care about Petrus by respecting him in his uniqueness (c). This is shown in the chapter El cebrero (Coelho, 2003b, p. 205), when Coelho reflects nostalgically on his experiences with Petrus.

With regard to the (d) presence of an enduring, stable intimate relationship, the relationship with Cristina (Chap. 1) is emphasised at the beginning of the book. However, the relationship appears to be a stable one that is shown through the support of Cristina for Coelho. Satisfaction with Coelho’s sexual life (f), is not referred to in the book.

 
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