No, this post isn’t ABOUT bullfighting. I couldn’t do that. I feel sick every time I even consider bullfighting. So why label this post as I did? Because it just altered my thinking, my feeling, and I found it amazing that one small thing could do that.
Yes, some will argue that bullfighting ins’t a small thing, regardless of whether you are for or against. But when weighed up against a lifetime of reading and enjoying a particular author it is small by comparison.
I’m talking about Paulo Coelho. I have read pretty much every novel he has published, and have thoroughly enjoyed all but a couple of them. Despite being a believer in nonviolence, I even read the MANUAL OF THE WARRIOR OF LIGHT. Not that this book is anti-nonviolence. But in my mind at that time anything that included violence felt like it was anti-nonviolent. And yet that book sparked me in many ways, and as I glance over my shoulder I can still see the copy waiting to be re-read, with slips of paper highlighting many passages.
Anyway, I digress. Bullfighting. Or not.
I recently purchased a second hand copy of CONFESSIONS OF A PILGRIM, being discussions between Coelho and journalist Juan Arias from the late 1990’s. I have this odd want-to-know-but-really-would-rather-know-nothing about my favourite writers, singers, actors etc. It’s like who they are made them touch me through whatever medium, but do I need to know them inside out to BE touched? Or will that knowing derail me from the message as I focus on the messenger?
And THAT was the point I was originally planning to make, because in this CONFESSIONS book Coelho admits to loving bullfighting. And in that moment I felt myself pull back from him, and away from his writing. Just two minutes before I had been considering which of his novels to re-read after completing this CONFESSIONS, and then in a heartbeat I was doubting the man, his words and my being touched by them simply because he admitted to liking one thing I loathe?
And this got me thinking how we do this with people, everyday people, forming instant judgements and easy dismissals, when all we can ever truly see is the smallest fraction of a person. It’s true that we cannot see the colour they see, and their blue could easily differ to ours, as there’s no way to compare. The same when we say something is loud and another says it isn’t – we can’t know how they hear. So should my feelings on one thing stop me from enjoying a gazillion other things? Am I that shallow? That vain that this belief I have should over-shadow not only another man’s belief but all he can help me see about myself? Either way, I don’t have to stop feeling how I feel about bullfighting, and I get the feeling Coelho wouldn’t want me to, and would be happy that it had got me thinking.
So, I sit corrected.