“The little prince”: The dangers of adulthood and generic experience

To not lose sight one must remain a child

“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is one of those children’s books (as all the good ones are) which must be re-read throughout life. As the prince reminds each character he runs into, so the book itself reminds you that the price of growing up is blindness.

It also reminds you that there comes a point in life where you need to leave your regular life and surroundings to gain some perspective…at the new place, things become clearer as they were in childhood.

This article in the New Yorker (quoted below) has summarized “The little Prince” and given some crucial background information which aids in the interpretation of the book:

“For all of the Prince’s journey is a journey of exile, like Saint-Exupéry’s, away from generic experience towards the eroticism of the particular flower. To be responsible for his rose, the Prince learns, is to see it as it really is, in all its fragility and vanity—indeed, in all its utter commonness!—without loving it less for being so fragile.

“The men the Prince meets on his journey to Earth are all men who have, in Bloch’s sense, been reduced to functions. The Businessman, the Astronomer, even the poor Lamplighter, have become their occupations, and gone blind to the stars.”

“The world conspires to make us blind to its own workings; our real work is to see the world again.”

Read more here

  • Sier Pino Vaso

    “You are beautiful but you are empty.No one could die for you.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  • joravaso

    Yes, I think in “the little prince” what the phrase “what is essential is invisible to the eye” means is that those things must felt, thus they are not concrete. It’s for this reason that they escape “adults”, because unlike children, they like to see and analyze concrete things but become blind to the essential “invisible” things.