Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Little Prince - Vice and Virtue

The Baobab Tree (Image borrowed here)
Just finished reading the classic novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince. I've read it twice in high school but it is only now that I've truly understood the meaning of some of the words of the author. What astounded me is the great connection and reference the novella had with our 'inner child' and the importance of having to look at life with a childlike perspective even as a grown adult - something that I would have never realized if it wasn't for the prayers of a particular person I met a couple of months ago :) 

The novella truly is brimmed with parallelisms (well, at least for me) and I'll start off with one of the most remarkable words I found on the first couple of pages. It all came to me as a parallel of the vices and virtues in one's heart as we grow up and of bringing the unconscious to a certain level of consciousness (awareness):
"...there were good seeds from good plants, and bad seeds from bad plants. But seeds are invisible. They sleep deep in the heart of the earth's darkness, until someone among them is seized with the desire to awaken. Then this little seed will stretch itself and begin - timidly at first - to push a charming little sprig inoffensively upward toward the sun. If it is only a sprout of radish or the sprig of a rose-bush, one would let it grow wherever it might wish. But when it is a bad plant, one must destroy it as soon as possible, the very first instant one recognizes it."
It continued with a warning of consequence for being complacent and lazy:
"A Baobab (vice) is something you will never, never be able to get rid off if you attend to it too late. It spreads over the entire planet. It bores clear through it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and the baobabs are too many, they split it in pieces."
Where the Little Prince added:
"It is a question of discipline... You must see to it that you pull up regularly the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rose-bushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth."
At the prince’s instruction, the narrator illustrates the overgrown planet as a warning to children. He adds that the baobabs pose an everyday threat that most people deal with without even being aware of it. The narrator states that the lesson to be learned from the story of the baobabs is so important that he has drawn them more carefully than any other drawing in the book.*

Original illustration by the author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

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What do your active brain cells perceive?