Hospital Waiting-Room Thoughts

Terre des hommes Exupery

This is one of my favorite books and its last pages had always impacted me greatly. Below I will post the English version of it. I know these lines by heart, however every time I read them, they are painful, as if I have stumbled upon them for the first time in my life. I am not suffering over them. I fall silent. If you read the last line with your heart you will feel that silence too.

This morning I was sitting at the hospital waiting-room. There were lots of kids with their parents. Nicely dressed and healthy looking kids. I was observing them, as they cuddled with their parents, as they watched cartoons, as they colored hospital coloring books. And I have faith that those kids will be taken care of. Maybe not all of them, but at least some, will read great books, will play creative games, will walk outside and observe people and life, will challenge themselves in the world outside of their house. They will think their own thoughts, speak their own words, create their own paths, they will help and inspire others. And there, in the hospital waiting-room, I thought that this was a pretty good progress that we as a society made in the past 50 years.

The thing that still worries me is the prevalence of the computer games over the on-the-street games, as well as the virtual world increasing dominance. I have nothing against the internet world. I think that the connectivity it offers us is amazing. It opens our generation the possibility to be in touch with others, to learn, to grow, to be independent and create our own value. It is great, as long as it remains the channel, not the final destination.
By that time it was my turn and I left the waiting-room and walked through the white door labeled as “Access A”.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Here is the English version of the yellow boxed text from the image:

“I sat down face to face with one couple. Between the man and the woman a child had hollowed himself out a place and fallen asleep. He turned in his slumber, and in the dim lamplight I saw his face. What an adorable face! A golden fruit had been born of these two peasants. Forth from this sluggish scum had sprung this miracle of delight and grace. I bent over the smooth brow, over those mildly pouting lips, and I said to myself: This is a musician’s face. This is the child Mozart. This is a life full of beautiful promise. Little princes in legends are not different from this. Protected, sheltered, cultivated, what could not this child become? When by mutation a new rose is born in a garden, all the gardeners rejoice. They isolate the rose, tend it, foster it. But there is no gardener for men. This little Mozart will be shaped like the rest by the common stamping machine. This little Mozart will love shoddy music in the stench of night dives. This little Mozart is condemned.
I went back to my sleeping car. I said to myself: Their fate causes these people no suffering. It is not an impulse to charity that has upset me like this. I am not weeping over an eternally open wound. Those who carry the wound do not feel it. It is the human race and not the individual that is wounded here, is outraged here. I do not believe in pity. What torments me tonight is the gardener’s point of view. What torments me is not this poverty to which after all a man can accustom himself as easily as to sloth. Generations of Orientals live in filth and love it. What torments me is not the humps nor hollows nor the ugliness. It is the sight, a little bit in all these men, of Mozart murdered.

Only the Spirit, if it breathe upon the clay, can create Man.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Wind, Sand and Stars

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