I was thrilled to come across my favourite childhood book, the mesmerising “Little Prince of St Exupery” whilst sorting through boxes the other day.
I always loved this beautiful book and when I opened it at random was reminded of the enchanting but thought-provoking dialogue between the Little Prince and the business man.
The business man was counting studiously.
“501 million … no time to chat … “
The Little Prince started asking questions.
“What are you counting?”
“The stars” replies the business man
“What do you do with these stars?” asks the Little Prince
“I own them” explains the business man, “I manage them, I count them and recount them .. it’s hard… it’s a serious business.”
The Little Prince was curious.
“If I own a scarf, I put it around my neck and wear it. If I have a flower, I can pick it and admire it. But you cannot pick the stars!” “No, but I can put them in the bank” “So what?” “Well, I can write down the number of stars on a small piece of paper and lock that piece of paper in a drawer.” “And that’s it?” “That’s it!” That’s funny, thought the Little Prince. It’s poetic, but not important. The Little Prince had very different ideas from the grown-ups about the serious things in life. “Me,” the Little Prince said, “I have a flower I water every day. I have three volcanoes I clean every week. Because I’m also cleaning the one that is burnt out. I’m useful to my volcanoes, and to my flowers. But you’re not useful to the stars” The businessman opened his mouth and found he had no answer, and the Little Prince went away. Grown-ups are quite extraordinary he thought to himself as he went on his way. I’ve realised we can adopt the same mode of questioning to the world today. If the Little Prince were here today, it’s easy to imagine him asking a business man why he works? The business man might answer “to earn money of course!” The Little Prince would reply “what’s the point of money?” “Well, it’s good for buying all kinds of things, like a car for example.” “… and what’s the use of having a car” “So I can get to work!” Work to make money, to buy things, to go to work! The Little Prince would be quite right to think grown -ups are very strange, wasting their time earning a living!
Are you working for money, with fears of not having enough or is your money working for you?