The Forerunner, The Madman, The Prophet (books)

The Forerunner, The Madman, The Prophet (Written by Kahlil Gibran)/1918 – 1923

I have been immersed in the beautiful words and wisdom of Kahlil Gibran for a few weeks now.  Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese painter and a poet who migrated to New York in 1895.  He started his career as a painter but had more successes as a poet and wrote many works in the early 1900s.

He wrote in a delicate and subtle prose where each sentence needs to be savoured in order to garner their full meaning.  He takes the readers into an ancient and mystical world; the land of kings and slaves where valleys whisper and animals talk.  The gentleness of the wisdom that is delivered was so gratifying when I finally understood (if I understood!) and I was humbled by how ideas that can become convoluted in discussion could be presented so simply.

It made me compare them with the self-help books of today’s world.  For those of you who are fans of self-help books, I ask you not to take the following paragraph as a personal affront.  We all have our own opinions and this is simply my opinion of self-help books.

Compared to the universal and holistic wisdom presented in Gibran’s works, in my view, the self-help books of today divide the universe into many factions.  It creates superficial conflicts by telling us that one is better than the other and we are better people if we live the certain way.  This is generally expressed by the word “should”.  This is also highly individualistic and ego driven.  There is an underlying presumption of competition which deems each human being as wanting to be better than the next person.  This, in my view, reinforces human greed and ego, which results in suffering and obstructs us from reaching a higher state of being as humanity.

The messages delivered by these books are also very rigid and inflexible to subjective digestion.  Gibran’s works are written in a nuanced way which allows the readers to garner the wisdom that is relevant for them at that particular time.  I am sure that if I read Gibran’s works in 20, 30 years’ time the wisdom I would take away would be different from what I take away now.

All of Gibran’s works are quite short as he wanted readers to be able to read his work in one sitting.  I would highly recommend his work for people seeking a breath of fresh air and intellectual peace from the chaos of modern society.

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