Monday, May 12, 2008

Ce qui embellit le désert c'est qu'il cache un puits quelque part...
What makes the desert beautiful, is that somewhere it hides a well...
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

4 comments:

Cécile said...

Saint-Exupéry.
This man was a poet and said so many true and beautiful things. Intellectuals are somewhat contemptuous regarding his books and his poetry, saying he was a children's author, which is true. He was also some kind of gentle prophet, opposing Sartre and Breton during WWII, saying they had a mind but no heart and no courage... He's the one who died trying to fight, by the way!
I've read all his works, and no later than yesterday I quoted him to a friend (funny coincidence!):
"Aujourd'hui un élève de maths spéciales en sait plus sur le monde que Descartes ou Newton. Est-il pourtant capable des mêmes raisonnements?"
Something like: "Today Physics students know more about the laws of the world than Descartes or Newton. But do they have the same power of reasoning?"
(ok this was not really art related, but it's true also about art I guess: one can paint with Photoshop in a manner more subtle and precise than Rembrant or Leonardo - but)

Anyway thanks for quoting Saint-Ex !)

thinker said...

I like the quote very much.
The time of knowledge and science we live in made us think that everything is already explained, and that everything can be found on the internet if you type it in Google. That great illusion of knowledge can be so funny. Today everything is explained, emotions, even love is just a chemical reaction in our brain. So we know everything about everything, but we're not capable of solving the most simple problems in life. Like you said, no heart and no courage...
I have read Le Petit Prince a long time ago and i was thrilled, but haven't read anything else by Exupéry. Since you've read all of his work i would be happy to hear your recommendation.
Have a nice day!

Cécile said...

Umberto Eco says that one can't love the writings of Saint-Exupéry if they haven't read some of his books while still a child. I don't know if that's true.
I liked Terre des Hommes very much (Wind, Sand and Stars?) I read it when I was 16. I haven't tried to read it in a while, but it was lovely to me when I was that age (that's where my quote comes from). There's another one called Citadelle (Weirdly, the Wisdom of the Sands, not so good a title) which is extremely beautiful French but very hard to understand, almost mystical. Night Flight is a pretty novel. One of the most interesting stuff to read is his letters to novelists, artists, etc of the 1930s but I really don't know if that's been translated.

I agree with you about Google. It makes me crazy. So does contemporary scientific research, that I know well enough (currently writing you from a scientific research center). Let's find our own heart, mind and courage :)
Have a nice day too.

thinker said...

Thanks for the suggestions, all of the books sound great. I think I'll try to find the letters first.
If you like Umberto Eco I recommend History of Beauty (Storia Della Bellezza). Great book about different concepts of beauty through history.