The Connections Between Things.
"No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean – 'tame'?""It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties."How else do we know a person than to 'establish ties'?
Language is for knowing about things. We can describe all kinds of things in words - gray, hard, rough, heavy, 1 kg, 15 cm long. But those things are not a rock.
You don't know a rock until you pick one up, heft it in your hand, roll it around between your palms, perhaps throw it as far as you can, back into the ocean.
You don't know a person until you've held them, pressed against your chest, your right hand cupping the back of their head, your left pressed against the small of their back, holding them against you, in complete silence. And what is more concrete and knowable than that? Is the word 'love'? Is the word 'hug'? Is a sonnet you write with the best intentions in mind?
"My life is very monotonous," he (the fox) said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat..."
We understand through silence in part because we're mostly made of holes, and we find it easy and natural to seep in a little. Deeper with prolonged contact. It is the most deranged and dysfunctional human for whom other humans mean nothing. Granite. There is a reason it is cold and hard. Extremely tiny little holes. Nothing gets in or out. But humans are a largely fleshy race, full of giant holes, and we leave our mark on each other.
"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me..."
"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me – like that – in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day..."
Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?"If we follow the advice of the prophet, we lose control over the other person, whoever they are. The only way we can control is to make them dependent on our own bread, our love, our cup. If we allow the other person to be their own, autonomous person with their own sovereign will, and they take up that challenge, we lose certainty. In silence, we simply allow them to be, rather than to control what they think, feel or believe with words.
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
Think about your relationships - do you want them to be based on control, really? Beyond your fear of loss, would you rather have a relationship based on imposed bonds, or a relationship where you choose to stand closely beside another human, who also chooses to stand closely beside you? Do you want to have control taken from you, or would you rather give it, a bit at a time, willingly, to a person you trust?
Get used to silence. Get used to feeling what is around you with your eyes closed. Get used to the hum of another person's skin against yours, the gentle pressure in the chest of two spirits embracing in sadness, the expanse of breath and tingling excitement of two spirits touching fingertips as they soar through the air, celebrating life, the sound of nothing but your heart beating.
Get used to yourself. Dig deep and find out the little bits of you. Get to know them well. Be an expression of yourself. That's all you have to do.