February 3, 2012 in Spirituality
Won’t people take advantage of me if I live within the gift?
This is possible.
It is more likely that people will respond by appreciating the gift and expressing gratitude.
I’ll write tomorrow about how to respond if you feel like someone is unfairly taking advantage of you.
Today, I want to look at one man’s experience with living within the gift.
Since then, I have read every one of his books I can find.
Coelho doesn’t care if I buy his books, borrow them from the local library, or download them for free off a site that pirates his writing.
No, I’m not kidding.
He lives within the gift and all he wants in return is that people appreciate his inspiration. He knows that when people do this, they express gratitude. He knows this because he has experienced it.
I’ll let him tell the story.
In 1999, when I was first published in Russia (with a print-run of 3,000), the country was suffering a severe paper shortage. By chance, I discovered a ‘pirated’ edition of The Alchemist and posted it on my web page. A year later, when the crisis was resolved, I sold 10,000 copies of the print edition. By 2002, I had sold a million copies in Russia, and I have now sold 12 million.
Coelho understands that when we receive the gift of a consumable item, it is appropriate to pay for it. He says, “When you’ve eaten an orange, you have to go back to the shop to buy another. In that case, it makes sense to pay on the spot.”
However, an idea is different.
A new idea needs a while to take hold. Art is the expression of an idea. When we first encounter it, we aren’t sure about it. We mull it over. We decide we want to know more. We might download it for free. If it is something that really grabs us, we eventually want to own the source of that idea whether it be book, CD, painting, or another art form.
Therefore, Paulo doesn’t oppose the sites that pirate and provide his material for free. He actually hosts one of them.
Nowadays, I run a ‘Pirate Coelho’ website, giving links to any books of mine that are available on file-sharing sites. And my sales continue to grow — nearly 140 million copies worldwide.
He goes on to explain.
With an object of art, you’re not buying paper, ink, paintbrush, canvas or musical notes, but the idea born out of a combination of those products.
‘Pirating’ can act as an introduction to an artist’s work. If you like his or her idea, then you will want to have it in your house; a good idea doesn’t need protection.
The rest is either greed or ignorance.
Those who live within the gift understand there are market rates for their products and services. Those prices are not compensation. They pay the gift forward so others may experience it.
In addition, as we make gifts visible, other people see the benefit and want to receive them. The more visible our gifts become, the more people want them.
Does this mean we must give to everyone who crosses our path?
I’ll address that issue tomorrow.