My ex-room mate once told me: As you grow old, reading The Little Prince becomes more profound. So I pick up my 10-year old copy of The Little Prince and read all over again. When you gain more life experiences, you can find yourself in one of The Little Prince’s characters and in the book’s philosophies. I appreciate the book now, in my mid twenties. I guess when you’re a little older, you strangely get insights from the innocence of a child which The Little Prince symbolizes. Here are some of the things that The Little Prince remind me of:
We love numbers but numbers are just numbers
Our world is governed by numbers. For instance, we measure the country’s progress by GNP or GDP but it does not reflect the quality of life of most people. Money, school grades, salary, check, number of likes in Facebook are just numbers. Numbers cannot tell how happy you are.
We have to dig deeper to know its value
One of the most popular quote: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” “ And another quote from the books says: “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well” It’s easy to measure someone’s worth based on face value. Often we pattern our lives with what society expects, what advertising sells. Always choose substance over form. What holds value to you does not necessarily hold value to to most people.
Facts are just “good-to-know”. Life is not about facts but a collection of experiences.
I always thought that by reading more books, by studying, by listening to experts and scholars is enough to make me more knowledgeable. But experience is always irreplaceable. Thanks to technology, knowledge is accessible. It’s good to know the world through web pages but it’s just a small portion of our reality.
The obsession of power, status and accumulation are all meaningless.
I have a similar blog post related to this. The Little Prince cannot understand the obsession of the king to rule, the fascination of the businessman to buy more stars. We do resemble some of the characters he met in different planets. We may be the geographer who does not travel the places he records, and the lamplighter who is too useful but has no time to rest.
We choose the people we want to be part of our lives
We keep looking for the best set of people to be our friends. They are not unique people just like the rose of The Little Prince. He has a sad realization that his rose in his planet is just like the other roses on earth. But when we “establish ties”, the way The Little Prince tamed the fox, we make them special. This reminds me of random question I shared with my friend: Do you think you marry the best guy in your life or the right person?
“There is no shop where you can buy friendship”
Relationships add zeal and meaning in our lives as explained by the fox to The Little Prince.
“My life is very monotonous,” the fox said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…”
We love the difficult people
The rose of The Little Prince has an attitude problem. She always complains and she is pretty demanding. Not to mention, she is fragile and vulnerable but The Little Prince has been devoted to her.
People have different values and priorities
We choose what gives meaning to our lives. Yes, we can choose what drives us everyday to work, what makes our lives worth living for, what inspires us, what motives us, what makes us happy
“All men have stars,” [the prince said.] “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—” “What are you trying to say?” “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!” (26.18-20)
Looking forward to watch The Little Prince movie