Lessons from the Little Prince

Last Christmas, I was given a book, just like what I prefer the most during the holidays. The book was The Little Prince, a famous classic written by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. I know that I am a tad bit late in reading this classic but still, I am thankful that this book was given to me as a gift. 🙂

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The book was concise and thought provoking. It took me a few days to finish it, despite the fact that it can be read in just under 2 hours. I savored every page, thought and quote that arose from each part. With every page, I became a witness to the author’s literary genius, to the point that it actually inspired me to write again ( I am actually suffering from almost 5 years worth of writer’s block – my worst ever).

The Little Prince showed me a world of fascination – a curiosity towards the expanse of the universe and the limitations of men as well as how to deal with it. In my age, I am already experiencing the rebellion of the inner child – a part of me that still resides in the nostalgia and innocence of childhood. This is also a part of me that is the most curious of all – to the point of asking poignant and silly questions.

The character of the Little Prince showed his frustration and fascination with grown ups – why they act and think in a complicated, absurd and hollow manner. In an uncanny way, I do share the same frustration and fascination – why people think and act in a limited manner while they can go beyond their horizons, why some people keep on repeating the same mistakes, why others are prone to the thought that they are infallible and commands a particular sense of control over others, why some of us are more concerned with money and material things to the point that they were not able to stop themselves from hurrying life too much and try to enjoy it to the fullest.

These questions have bothered me for sometime, especially during the years I was still an idealistic person who wanted to change the world for the better (yes, I did think like that way back then). I also knew for myself that I can be such an idealistic to a fault but then again, I learned my lessons from those days and understood the value of compromise and accepting the current human condition without undermining your core principles. In a way, its an exercise of patience – patience for the world around you despite not operating in ideal conditions.

Here are the quotable quotes that inspired me:

1. “It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” (the Fox to the Little Prince)

There are a lot of things that people tend to value: power, money, luxuries, properties, clothes etc. The quote tells us that in this very physical world, the most important things are the one that cannot be seen by our eyes. True that we may need physical things for us to survive but we should not let those things dictate the way we live. Unfortunately, many of us succumb to this kind of attitude, always thinking that the world rolls like a dice in our hands.

This world may provide us with our physical wants and needs but the nourishment of our souls and hearts go beyond the our eyes

2. “He does not realize the danger. He is never hungry or thirsty. All he needs is a little sunshine.” (the Aviator to the Little Prince)

This is an extension of the lesson from point number 1. When we go beyond the physical, we tend to appreciate the simplest things in life, whether its the flowers that bloom in your garden, a smile that was given to you by a stranger, the waves that crash towards the shore, the nostalgia in your memories, or even the warmth of a sunshine, breaking through the cold of winter.

3. “One can only understand the things one tames.” (the Fox)

This one shows us our limitations – especially in viewing and understanding the world we live in. We can only understand the things that we have experienced and known but when we are dealing with things that are uncertain, changing and challenging, that’s where the confusion and self-doubt sets in. Life is meant to be an ocean full of changing waves of notions and perspectives but it does not necessarily mean to let ourselves be drowned or carried away by those waves. Instead, we must learn to swim. Sometimes, against the waves. Sometimes, through the waves. The end goal could be hitting the shore first or keeping ourselves afloat while waiting for more favorable winds to turn the tides of our fortune. Life is either sink or swim, indeed.

There are a lot of parts in the book that shook me down to my core. And I recommend to read this book, no matter how old or young you are. The book makes you think about the multitudes present in our lives and gives us a comforting note on how to live life in our own way.

I hope that by reading this book, I will get to see my writing muse again. 🙂

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