wind, sand and stars


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Anyone who has ever heard of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry If you've read the title of this post, you'll know straight away that I'm referring to his 1939 book Terre des Hommes.

My reading of de Saint-Exupéry's books began when I was still at school with Nachtflug, which first appeared in December 1931, and always ends anew with the Little Prince from 1943.

In his “field report” as a pilot, which he titled Terre des Hommes, reflected Antoine de Saint-Exupéry about us humans and states the following:

"La vérité pour l'homme, c'est ce qui fait de lui un homme."

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Terre des Hommes, VIII. Les hommes

Namely that it there is only one truth for man, that which makes him a man.

Comradeship, fulfillment of duty, solidarity and humanity are probably the all-determining themes. Not only Antoine de Saint-Exupéry himself is of the opinion that today's people have lost the sense of life in general and, above all, the sense of their own lives.

We, too, have now apparently mutated into a pure fun society that exists solely at the expense of others, nature and the environment. Travel without education and purpose, as well as wellness vacations, just to extend a meaningless life as much as possible, are en vogue with many of us, along with other meaningless entertainment programs.

And this behavior is even encouraged by some religions; let's take the Qur'an as an example.

"Know that truly this life is but a game and a pastime."

Qur'an, Sura 57:20

The consequences for everyone can be easily seen from the state of those countries that have long since made this knowledge a matter of state and can also be followed constantly in the news. In these countries in particular, the desire for orientation should have arisen much sooner than here, especially in times when things are politically haywire, when common sense no longer seems to be reliable, even if the sciences are no longer reliable know quite well, in short: when the individual is thrown back on himself.

Many should have asked themselves the basic questions about a successful life, for which philosophy is traditionally responsible for us, for a very long time. Perhaps some would have recognized long ago that it doesn't matter where you lead your meaningless life. This would probably have spared some people the realization that their meaningless life is completely meaningless, even abroad.

Because among many others, already had Michel de Montaigne realized that what matters is not how long we live, but what we have made of our lives. It would help us all if as many people as possible replaced the pure desire to have fun with striving for more camaraderie, fulfillment of duty, solidarity and humanity and thus give themselves and society as a whole a chance for development and development.

It's the nights we spent together with like-minded people on the military training ground or the rescue station, the hours in which we developed an idea or a product together, "only" fulfilled our everyday duty or helped other people who have every memory of a Let kilos of caviar fade away on the dream ship or a five-liter bucket of sangria on Malle.

Gabriel García Márquez emphasizes this type of memory:

"Life is not what we have lived, but what we remember and how we remember it in order to tell about it."

Gabriel García Márquez, Live to Tell About (2002)

That's why it's an advantage for everyone if you take care of getting hold of as many good and numerous memories as possible from an early age. It is helpful if you also take advantage of the diverse offers of our society and don't spend all your time and effort to avoid or just busy picking raisins. Ultimately, it comes down to how Max frisch remarked in a workshop discussion:

"Everyone sooner or later invents a story that he takes for his life, often at great sacrifice."

Max frisch, in Die Zeit (September 18, 1964)

Recognizing this, our state has the Martin Luther ended the sale of indulgences and gives the late bloomers among us the opportunity to buy a meaningful life afterwards: Foundations and elite human rescue circles have recently sprout like asparagus.

At least since Martin Luther but we also know that this is of little importance for one's own salvation, but also that it is never too late for a self-determined and meaningful life; the possible tasks and challenges for this are actually unlimited and accessible to everyone.

Our English-speaking fellow citizens would simply put it like this: "Just be a mensch!" Harold Pinter said:

"You'll be a human ... You'll be a success."

Harold Pinter, The Birthday Party (1959)

And Saul bellow even went one step further:

"I want you to be a human."

Saul bellow, The Adventures of Augie March (1953)

And for all those who cannot or do not want to find themselves in a desert, a mirror may suffice. Dale Wimbrow wrote the following poem in 1934:

The guy in the glass

When you get all you want and you struggle for pelf,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.

For it is not your mother, your father or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.

He's the fellow to please,
never mind all the rest.
For he's with you right to the end,
and you've passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world,
down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you've cheated the man in the glass.

Dale Wimbrow, 1934

"He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife."

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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