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“They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.” – Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran (1881 – 1931) was a Lebanese-American poet, philosopher, artist, and novelist who was best known for his book “The Prophet.” The wide readership of his books, especially “The Prophet” which contains 26 poetic essays and has been translated into over 20 languages, made him the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi.
Born and raised in Lebanon, he immigrated with his family to the United States as a young man. There he studied art and began writing in both English and Arabic. He is celebrated as a literary hero in his homeland for his romantic prose poetry that emerged during the renaissance of modern Arabic literature.
Although Gibran is chiefly known for “The Prophet,” his other works also contain his wisdom and poetic imagery. For instance, the aphorism above comes from Gibran’s 1926 book of aphorisms, poems, and parables, “Sand and Foam.” Written and published after the hugely successful “The Prophet,” it covers a wider variety of themes that makes it a timeless, quotable masterpiece. Gibran addresses the tendency of men to surrender their dreams and happiness in exchange for fame and money. He added, “The most pitiful of men is he who turns his dreams into silver and gold.”
Influenced by many religions and the mysticism of the Sufis, he spoke against the love for material possessions as it only adds weight to the soul. The central theme of most of his works is living a fully realized life through simplicity, and being a slave of none.
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