Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Changing Ideas

At this rate, I think Juan and I will eventually have to come to terms with the fact that we have become "grown-ups." Not in the sense that we are mature or responsible, but in the sense that each day we become more like the caricature of adults portrayed in the The Little Prince.

We have become realists. We have embraced Hobbes over Locke. We have, during egotistic and hedonistic pursuits, lost sight of what's important. The prince in our hearts is no longer Le Petit Prince, but Il Principe.

It is unfair, of course, for me to speak oh his behalf. But this is the trend I have observed: the loss of innocent love and steadfast belief in goodness.

I'm not sure if this progression is reversible. In fact, I don't think Antoine de Saint-Exupéry thought it possible. What is important, then, is to remember the fox's secret: that "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

When I asked my 11-year-old pupil, after he had read The Little Prince, if he would ever like to grow up, he answered with an emphatic "no." It is too late for us. But if we can manage to keep the fox's secret close at hand, we can at least salvage what wisdom we had as children.

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