The Collision of Two Tendencies

Hannah, bless her heart, happened to quote something from The Little Prince that spoke to me, and created an hour of research unrelated to any of my pressing commitments.

The dominant idea in the story of The Little Prince is to be found, of course, in chapter XXI, in which the little prince meets, tames, and says goodbye to the fox.

—Adieu, dit le renard. Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

You can only see well with your heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye. The fox adds a corollary to this:

—Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité, dit le renard. Mais tu ne dois pas l’oublier. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé. Tu es responsable de ta rose…

People forget this truth, but you shouldn’t forget it. You become forever responsible for what you tame.

Marie-Louise von Franz, in her amazing Jungian interpretation of the story, writes (pg. 94ff):

It can be said that the fox teaches the little prince the important value of the here-and-now, and with it, of feeling. Feeling gives value to the present, for without it one has no relationship to the here-and-now situation, and with it comes responsibility, and, through that, a formed individual. […] The fox is here on earth and that friendship must last, for otherwise it is meaningless. […]

For instance, if a man has an obligation to his anima and also to the woman with whom he made friends or married, then he gets into the typical duality situation of life where one always has a real conflict and a double pull, and is always torn between obligations to this side of life and to the inner or other side. That would be the realization, or the crucifixion, the basic truth of life, that life is double and is a double obligation. Life itself is a conflict because it always means the collision of two tendencies. That is what makes up life, but that realization escapes the little prince completely or he escapes the realization.

Thanks Hannah. Thanks Marie-Louise. I hope I can recover from this reeling mind-bomb and deliver on my obligations today, the ones on the outside, not the inner ones, and at the same time not escape this realization.
N.B.: Do not literalize Saint-Exupery’s story, von Franz’s interpretation, or my reference. For metaphorical use only.