Sunday, February 13, 2005

Of Cathedrals and Harems

Of Cathedrals and Harems

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

- Antoine de St Exupery, Flight to Arras

Even though I am not exactly a fan of flying, I often reread St Exupery ("The Poet of the Skies") to get infected again by the depth and intensity of passion for this favourite pursuit of his. His meditations on the pleasures and challenges of flying, are extremely inspirational and provide me with many "Tetris moments".

We all have our passions in life. Some drool over cars, others cannot refrain themselves from trying out different types of food and I have one particular friend whose sole purpose in life is to bed as many women as possible, because that to him is the ultimate pleasure.

It is these passions which give our lives meaning and keep us going. Some like St Exupery, will even go to the extent of risking their lives for it. Our lives and everything around us will be very dull--like a pile of dead rocks--if we do not infuse them with passionate pursuits. If we have passion, we see cathedrals instead of rock piles and we endeavour to bring these cathedrals of the mind to reality.

To my Cassanova friend, instead of cathedrals, he sees the world as a harem from which every woman is game, and he lives his life true to this belief. He is willing to pay the price for his pursuits. I may not share his passion but I respect his conviction.

St Exupery paid the ultimate price in his pursuit for flying. We will all build our own cathedrals and pay our price for it in one way or another. By paying the price, we get to learn the lessons God has intended for us in this life. So go build your cathedrals and harems, for the alternative is to wander amidst a perpetual desolation of rock piles.

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