Life is an interesting journey, and each of us walks a different path. We all experience suffering, and see things from different perspectives. This can manifest as bias, convictions, frames of reference. It is influenced by experience, learning, and environment. It benefits from an open mind – an important theme and lesson from the The Little Prince.
In The Little Prince, the prince is told by a plant, who saw a caravan passing through once, that there are only six or seven humans and that the wind blows them around. The plant has a skewed perspective, ostensibly as a result of being rooted in one place.
One cannot blame the plant for its narrow understanding and point of view. It is not able to move, nor to experience life otherwise. Its environment is static and therefore limited.
The Human Experience
We humans though, we have access to so much information, the ability to move and to experience things and change our environments. However, we need to be cautious to not fall victim to unchallenged biases. We also need to reconsider our convictions from time to time. If you’ve never experienced pain or loss, for example, the first time will very likely, it should in fact, alter your understanding and views on life, joy, and normalcy.
As we move along the paths of our lives we need to be aware of the views we hold. The way we understand things may be narrow; sometimes without our ability to see it thus – like the plant. Experience and new information could, should really, force one to see things through a new lens. We may not always like what we see as a result, but we also cannot see how new views and paths might end. Perhaps fate has a hand in the paths we take and where they lead us. Regardless, hard paths may lead to the best outcomes. Alternately, the easy and preferred ones may become wrought with difficulties and undesirable conclusions.
I, for one, would hate to think that I held a belief that the world held only six or seven humans, blown around by the wind. All as a result of limited experience, knowledge and environmental input to inform me. Whether in matters of growth, maturity, and values, or perhaps love, fears, and pain, I prefer to know more, to suffer more, even if it challenges everything I believe. Life is supposed to be hard, we are supposed to suffer. The light only holds value as light if we know darkness. Love only exists with pain. And pain promises the hope of love, and joy.
So, be open to experience and new views. Be open to and accept suffering. We grow from our suffering, and on the fringes of comfort; we need discomfort and fear, and to make mistakes and take chances. It is necessary to better consider and determine our values, convictions and perspectives. Keep an open mind and accept suffering as necessary to becoming who we are meant to become.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller