marți, 18 martie 2014

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

Allan Karlsson, a hundred-year-old man sets on another adventure.

The book is a fascinating account of adventures and happenings in Allan’s life. It all fits with the perfect twists of occurrences, fate, whatever you want to call it. Reading the book, I had a feeling that Allan’s life is magnificent, but I guess every life in which you have no expectations other than: nice food, a place above your head, and something to drink is the dream. Given the strange context in which Allan live, it appears that only by constantly wanting to live he sets himself yet on another adventure.

During his 100 year life he has become a bomb specialist, helped create the most deadly bomb, be-friended presidents, and also spend a nice long vacation on the beach (more than a decade), and during the whole time he was an honest, open-minded and completely apolitical person. On the celebration of his 100 year birthday he decides to do something new, other than spending his day in the senior house, so he climbs out the window and just goes off to another place/ adventure.

In a fantastic twist of randomly circumstances, just as anyone would know to expect from an ordinary life, he comes in the possession of a troller full of money, than pursued by the rightful Swedish mafia proprietors, and by the police, suspected of kidnap and manslaughter. While taking part in this exciting adventure the author carefully portrays Allan’s previous history, just to make the reader clear that when we come to know this person we will see how all the things make sense, and culminate in this adventure that started on his 100th birthday.  It is really a beautifully written account of the story of a man who is true to himself, his morals, his beliefs, and constructs his sense of self-coherence by reflecting on the issues bigger than himself, thus being genuinely open to people, to happenings, to revise his actions and construct his life in accordance to his beliefs. Although the author or the main character doesn’t state the beliefs plainly, by the end of the book I had the feeling that Allan’s main belief is in the power of people accepting themselves and others as they are, without imposing external morals, ideas, or political agendas.

This fantastic story made me reflect on the ways in which I too construct the story of my life. The way in which I can revise what I am living and what I am experiencing, to make sure I spot the difference between unrealistic expectation of events going the way I want them to go, or happening in the putative way that I can imagine them to take place. It is indeed a liberating feeling to know that I will not come to understand all the potential outcome of a decision, situation, and my best action is just to act the way that my morals and beliefs dictate me. Keeping in mind that I cannot envisage all the potential situations is the best feeling, but that doesn’t mean I should be paralysed by inaction; on the contrary that means I am more responsible for how I act and react to everything that comes in my life, thus I will take a step closer to having and behaving in accordance to my free will – because, you see, whenever I know there are multiple course of action, what I choose to do becomes my decision, even is the setting is not in my control, the decision, reaction, action Is.