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Antoine de Saint-Exupery

(29 June 1900 – 31 July 1944 / Lyon)

Quotations

  • ''We say nothing essential about the cathedral when we speak of its stones. We say nothing essential about Man when we seek to define him by the qualities of men.''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 23 (1942).
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  • ''War is not a true adventure. It is a mere ersatz. Where ties are established, where problems are set, where creation is stimulated—there you have adventure. But there is no adventure in heads-or-tails, in betting that the toss will come out of life or death. War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus.''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 8 (1942).
  • ''When the body sinks into death, the essense of man is revealed. Man is a knot, a web, a mesh into which relationships are tied. Only those relationships matter. The body is an old crock that nobody will miss. I have never known a man to think of himself when dying. Never.''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 19 (1942).
  • ''On a day of burial there is no perspective—for space itself is annihilated. Your dead friend is still a fragmentary being. The day you bury him is a day of chores and crowds, of hands false or true to be shaken, of the immediate cares of mourning. The dead friend will not really die until tomorrow, when silence is round you again. Then he will show himself complete, as he was—to tear himself away, as he was, from the substantial you. Only then will you cry out because of him who is leaving and whom you cannot detain.''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 2 (1942).
  • ''If France is to be judged, judge her not by the effects of her defeat but by her readiness to sacrifice herself.''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 15 (1942).
  • ''What do we mean by setting a man free? You cannot free a man who dwells in a desert and is an unfeeling brute. There is no liberty except the liberty of some one making his way towards something. Such a man can be set free if you will teach him the meaning of thirst, and how to trace a path to a well. Only then will he embark upon a course of action that will not be without significance. You could not liberate a stone if there were no law of gravity—for where will the stone go, once it is quarried?''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 23 (1942).
  • ''A civilization is a heritage of beliefs, customs, and knowledge slowly accumulated in the course of centuries, elements difficult at times to justify by logic, but justifying themselves as paths when they lead somewhere, since they open up for man his inner distance.''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 12 (1942).
  • ''What was my body to me? A kind of flunkey in my service. Let but my anger wax hot, my love grow exalted, my hatred collect in me, and that boasted solidarity between me and my body was gone.''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 19 (1942).
  • ''Treason implies responsibility for something, control over something, influence upon something, knowledge of something. Treason in our time is a proof of genius. Why, I want to know, are not traitors decorated?''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 13 (1942).
  • ''Charity never humiliated him who profited from it, nor ever bound him by the chains of gratitude, since it was not to him but to God that the gift was made.''
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), French aviator, author. Flight to Arras, ch. 23 (1942).

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Generation To Generation

In a house which becomes a home,
one hands down and another takes up
the heritage of mind and heart,
laughter and tears, musings and deeds.
Love, like a carefully loaded ship,
crosses the gulf between the generations.
Therefore, we do not neglect the ceremonies
of our passage: when we wed, when we die,
and when we are blessed with a child;

[Hata Bildir]