How to change a life

One of CVH’s facebook friends posts a question on a regular basis.  This week’s question was “What book has changed your life?”

I will set aside the metaphysical question of if one can change their life (for after all, you only get one).

Recently a dear old friend gave me a copy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Flight to Arras, an autobiographical account of his time as a reconnaissance pilot in WW II.  At one point, he muses on the issue of what makes us who we are:

No single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us.  To live is to be slowly born.  It would be a bit too easy if we could go about borrowing ready-made souls.

It is true that a sudden illumination may now and then light up a destiny and impel a man in a new direction.  But illumination is vision, suddenly granted the spirit, at the end of a long and gradual preparation.  Bit by bit I learnt my grammar.  I was taught my syntax.  My sentiments were awakened.  And now suddenly a poem strikes me in the heart.

I told CVH “IBM System/360 Principles of Operation”.


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