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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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's review
Jan 11, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: classics
Recommended to Ben by: Chantal Methot
Read in January, 2007

I spent a most of the day reading The Little Prince. Got me thinking about some questions that I haven’t asked for a long time. Definitely a touching read, considering my recent partings with people that I’ve appreciated, loved, and miss—hits a bit close to home. I believe, but am cynical of, his central message. Probably because I both love and hate attachments.

At times I long for crushes, connections, and dare I say…relationships! because they give greater meaning and excitement to the the mundane; daily routines take on substance and tasks lose their emptiness. At other times, I despise them because the relationships and all the associated emotions overflow and run beyond my control.

For me, part of that preparation is recognizing the coming tsunami, and running in-land whenever the hales start blowing a bit stronger than usual. It never fails. And there’s a comfort that’s hard to break out of. I’d invest a bit more effort, but I’m not convinced that getting out of the zone is worth it.

The book is super french!! What is it with these people? The whole bunch of them write stories permeated with existential questions or messages—some are convinced, others confused, others completely nihlistic. I respect the hopeful humanists among them, ones like Antoine that can assert that life is meaningful because of people; if we fail to live for others we forfeit that meaning. Even more so, one is enough; that rose somewhere out there on a distant planet is enough to infuse life with meaning, beauty and substance—especially considering the fact that the blasted flower was a narcissistic mythomaniac! I did appreciate that he loved her despite it all; that he didn’t appreciate it until he was gone, that he recognized this, and that he returned—that’s fabulous. I don’t think it happens that often though—more typically we keep harboring the faults until we become unattached, often so much that it’s not long before we’re acutally repulsed by the thought of the other person, embittered. Good for psychological defense I suppose—but not too great for our humanity, or true “sanity”, as we stop seeing things for what they really are; warped glass enlighting a warped reality.

Could one ever be enough? I don’t know. Not sure that it has to be though. Events and objects may have greater meaning because they are attached to a person, a relationship, a memory of some interpersonal goodness. But there’s an armful of people that I’m grateful for knowing, for loving, and for creating meaningful interactions and memories. So what/who am I living for? Who gives your life meaning? Or is it a what? Who do you act for? Study for? What drives your ambitions? Some vague and fuzzy future of a “somebody” or is there an inherent drive that would be there regardless? Is it possible to live for yourself? And have any meaning in that? What of the king and the lamplighter? I wouldn’t want to be the ones to clue them in that their lives are meaningless. This is an area that I’m not sure I agree with in the book. I support and respect Antoine’s direction. But everyone seeks meaning in their lives, they have to.
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