The Little Prince

Few stories capture so simply the essence of the humble human heart. The Little Prince is a book that we should all read and remember, because it is one that defines what it means to be human.

I read (and strongly recommend) the Picador Classic edition translated by Ros and Chloe Schwartz. It is translated more poetically than other versions and the illustrations are simpler, yet more effectively composed to help tell the story.

Reading Notes:

  • A beautiful story about the human heart
  • When reading this I couldn’t help thinking about George Orwell’s essays, in particular when he says: “If a man cannot enjoy the return of spring, why should he be happy in a labour-saving Utopia?”
  • If you can’t care whether the lamb ate the rose, then what is worth caring about?
  • The Little Prince is what makes us human. The day we become fully out of touch with him is the day that humanities existence comes to an end.

Quotes:

  • “You only see clearly with your heart. The most important things are invisible to the eyes.”
  • “It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.”
  • “The people on your planet grow five thousand roses in one garden, but they don’t find what they are looking for there. And yet wha they’re looking for could be found in a single rose or in a little water. But eyes are blind. You have to seek with the heart.”
  • “I’m going to have to cope with a few caterpillars if I want to see butterflies. I’ve heard they’re so beautiful.”
  • “He did not realise that for kings, the world is very simple. Everyone is a subject.”
  • “One must only ask of a person what he can give. Authority is based principally on reason. If you command your people to go and throw themselves into the sea, they will revolt. I am entitled to demand obedience because my orders are reasonable.”
  • “Then you will judge yourself. That’s the hardest thing. It is much harder to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself well, then you are truly a wise man.”
  • “Show-offs imagine that everyone they meet must be an admirer.”
  • “Whenever he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower or the star to sleep. It’s a very nice job. It’s really useful because it’s nice.”
  • “Where are all the people? It’s a bit lonely in the desert. – It’s lonely among people too.”
  • “The flower had once seen a caravan go past – All the people? There are a few, I think, six or seven. I glimpsed them years ago. But you never know where to find them. The wind blows them about. They don’t have roots, which causes them a lot of problems.”
  • “My fox used to be like you. He was just a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I made him my friend and now he is absolutely unique.”
  • “Weren’t they happy, where they were? – People are never happy where they are.”
  • “[On pill that quenches thirst] – Well if I had fifty-three minutes to spare, I’d walk very slowly towards a drinking fountain.”
  • “What I see here is only his shell. The most important part is invisible.”
  • “People dive into express trains, but they don’t know what they’re looking for. Then they get restless and go round in circles.”

sebastiankade

Sebastian Kade, Founder of Sumry and Author of Living Happiness, is a software designer and full-stack engineer. He writes thought-provoking articles every now and then on sebastiankade.com

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