Recently finished reading Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I did not know anything about him, but was inspired to find out more when I read a fiction novel involving a little girl who was fascinated with this French aviator. I was not disappointed. This book is filled with his personal memories of friends, events and flights, but most fascinating is the weaving philosophical narrative underlining the whole text. A sample below.
Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something to be discovered: it is something molded. These prison walls that this age of trade has built up around us, we can break down. We can still run free, call our comrades, and marvel to hear once more, in response to our call, the pathetic chant of the human voice.What all of us want is to be set free. The man who sinks his pickaxe into the ground wants that stroke to mean something. The convict’s stroke is not the same as the prospector’s, for the obvious reason that the prospector’s stroke has meaning and the convict’s stroke has none. It would be a mistake to think that the prison exists at the point where the convict’s stroke is dealt. Prison is not mere physical horror. It is using a pickaxe to no purpose that makes a prison; the horror resides in the failure to enlist all those who swing the pick in the community of mankind. We all yearn to escape from prison.