To Own and To Serve
“I myself own a flower,” he continued his conversation with the businessman, which I water every day. I own three volcanos which I clean out every week (for I also clean out the one that is extinct; one never knows). It is of some use to my volcanos, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them. But you are of no use to the stars…”
– Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince
Hidden in this passing conversation is a philosophy of ownership that I believe could battle the depths of all that silliness that just doesn’t make sense in man’s (especially the Western Man’s) need to own. De Saint Exupéry is suggesting that man’s role in being and his responsibility in his perceived ownership is an action of pouring out. It is not an action of pulling in or becoming an effectual vacuum. The great responsibility man has been given is that of his active service to the world he is a part of. The world does not exist to service man, man exists to service it.
If you haven’t read de Saint Exupéry, please do.