Seeing (love's enchantment) with the Heart!

The key tag-line of the animation movie The Little Prince is, "it is only with the heart we can see rightly. The most essential things in life are invisible." The movie goes on to explicate this profound truth from within the context of coming of age story and learning what it means to love. The story is about a little girl and an grandfatherly neighbor participating in a fantastical story about growing up and learning to love with the heart. This story is not so much a statement as much as a search for the essence of life. 

The little prince is a little boy in love with his rose. But then his rose becomes "too needy" for his comfort so he leaves her and goes on his own "hero's journey" to discovery what will really make him happy. He wanders around getting different experiences looking for his real self. The story is about the little prince loosing the memory of his pristine love during his journey and then rediscovering it anew. The rediscovery of old love is a much more nuanced, imaginative and mature understanding of the beauty of the rose. 

The little prince abandoned the rose in the first place because he saw the rose as being "too needy". He saw the rose as being too needy because he was too immature to know that the essence of being human was to apprehend the invisible by seeing rightly with his heart. It is only with the heart that we can see rightly because most essential things in life are invisible to the purely rational mind. That is, the disorienting enchantment of love can only be perceived with the heart. It takes imagination to see with the heart. A a mind that is solely rational will be scared by the disruptive enchantment of falling in love. 

The antagonist in the story is the "business man" who sees the world with a purely reductionistic framework that has no place for the heart. Businessman's philosophy of life is that imagination and beauty makes people useless and lazy. Stars in the sky represented people's desire for beauty, so the business man has removed all the stars from the sky to make electricity out of them. The starless people in his enterprise were efficient because they no longer had time for star-gazing! The point of tension of the movie is whether the little prince will re-learn to see with the heart and rediscover his love for the rose or if the flattened utilitarianism of the super efficient business man's world will make him a hollow man. 

As kids we all begin by seeing and loving with our hearts - whether it be love for a teddy bear doll or playing with clay. But in the tyrannical over-rationalization of growing up we forget to see with our heart and thus harden our hearts to the beauty of the world right in front of us. If we do not learn to see with our heart we become hollow men like the star-robbing business man who disenchanted the world for the sake of mere efficiency. In fact, this is the point of the movie Citizen Kane loosely based on the life of the business tycoon William Randolph Hearst. As the media mogul Hearst dies, having lived a loveless life, his final thoughts are about his childhood toy "snow flower" the enchantment of which he had forgotten in the business of building his disenchanted empire. There can be no love in a disenchanted world because  the very definition of falling in love is to lose oneself, enchanted by the "other." Falling in love is inefficient to the rationalistic mind but enchanting to the heart.

In the movie, The Little Prince, the grown up Little Prince re-learns to see his Rose's beauty with his heart. He no longer remembers a "needy" rose. Instead he sees transcending beauty! Then he realizes that the beauty of the stars really pointed back to the beauty of the rose his enchanted heart saw. It was his love for the rose that made the rose special. It was this enchanting love for his rose that made the world beautiful for him. Anytime he encountered something beautiful, whether it be stars in the sky or clouds at sunrise, his enchanted heart saw his love for his beautiful rose in it. After all, "it is only with the heart we see rightly. The most essential things in life are invisible."