I recently re-read “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I felt I needed to re-live my childhood a bit… It was the first time I read in – of my own volition – in English…in high-school French we “studied” it. And how things change – as a teenager – in hindsight, I was naive and did not “get” the book. It was too “deep” for me, I think and now, having “lived” I can relate to the fable in a different way.
Reading it as an adult it brings up so many universal truths about people (“grown-ups”): our inability to see past our own negativity/despair/”work”, the real meaning of friendship, that the journey is so much more important than the destination and lessons on love – being vulnerable and “tamed” (because, lets face it – we all have pre-conceived notions on love and apply our expectations on it…which, in my experience, end badly).
I could write essays – maybe even a thesis – on the book but I’ll spare you my attempt at philosophy but will say this…. I implore you to read it – its a quick and easy read…and I, for one, plan on handing out a copy to my nearest and dearest…
Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book (and I have paraphrased a few):
- The land of tears is so mysterious.
- Words are the source of misunderstandings.
- It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
- One only understands the things that one tames….Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more… You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed… One runs the risk of weeping a little if one allows himself to be tamed.
- It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you….But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered…because it is she that I have listened to when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.
- Then you shall judge yourself, that is the most difficult thing of all. It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.
- One must command from each what each can perform. Authority is based first of all upon reason.