Monday, August 10, 2009

The Little Prince

I never thought that a tiny children’s book could have this effect on me. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry was a book that was recommended by a colleague as a lovely children;s story but it has some very interesting observations about human nature.

It is about the lovely innocent world of little children, and how we forget all that imagination, the dreaming, the wonder that you have when you see a star, as we grow older and start thinking of “matters of consequence” as the book puts it…

Just made me think for a while, so what are all these matters of consequence? I guess this was what Jesus Christ meant when he said that you must be like a child to enter the kingdom of God, the simplicity, honesty, satisfaction with the small things, though we have all these fancy toys, most kids would be happy just playing outside with flowers or watching butterflies or birds… We’ve forgotten to see with the heart.

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“The men where you live,” said the little prince, “raise five thousand roses in the same garden– and they do not find in it what they are looking for.”
“And yet what they are looking for could be found in one single rose, or in a little water.”
“But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart. . . ”

There were some other lovely quotes from the book.

"When you tell grown-ups that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.
If you were to say to the grown-ups: “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all. You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

"They are like that. One must not hold it against them. Children shouldalways show great forbearance toward grown-up people. But certainly, for us who understand life, figures are a matter of indifference."
This is sad but true, when it comes to value we often try to put a number on it. And the things are measured on how much they cost…

“I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman. He has never smelled a flower. He has never looked at a star. He has never loved any one. He has never done anything in his life but add up figures. And all day he says over and over, just like you: ’I am busy with matters of consequence!’ And that makes him swell up with pride. But he is not a man– he is a mushroom!”
How many people like this do you know? Well I was like that myself, you sometimes, keep working hard, morning, noon, night, come home late and happy that you did a lot of work, but is that life? People sometimes say stop wasting your time chatting or fooling around, and do some useful work, but I now come to think of it… the time you “waste” is the time you spend making friends, discovering and so on, so hey can you say it’s a waste of time.

Some more food for thought…
“And what good does it do you to own the stars?”
“It does me the good of making me rich.”
“And what good does it do you to be rich?”
“It makes it possible for me to buy more stars, if any are ever discovered.”
“How is it possible for one to own the stars?”
“To whom do they belong?” the businessman retorted, peevishly.
“I don’t know. To nobody.”
“Then they belong to me, because I was the first person to think of it.”
“Is that all that is necessary?”
“Certainly. When you find a diamond that belongs to nobody, it is yours.
When you discover an island that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you get an idea before any one else, you take out a patent on it: it is yours. So with me:
I own the stars, because nobody else before me ever thought of owning them.”
“Yes, that is true,” said the little prince. “And what do you do with them?”
“I administer them,” replied the businessman. “I count them and recount them. It is difficult. But I am a man who is naturally interested in matters of

It ended with some lovely lines, which I thought how romantic…when the 2 friends part…
"All men have the stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You– you alone– will have the stars as no one else has them–”
“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night. . . you– only you– will have stars that can laugh!”

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Blogger Princess Kiana said...

i was able to read this book when i was a kid...the lessons are true and i realized it when i am now 29....nice post...

5:03 am, February 21, 2010  

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