I have been re-reading some works of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry [pictured below], who has been one of my all-time favourite writers since I first studied his works in French in high school. Many of his books have, at least in part, a sort of existentialist flavour about them.
In other words, we must focus our attention, not on the ‘world’ of supposedly transcendental ideas and values, but on the ordinary ‘things’ and objects of existence, the daily occurrences in space and time which comprise our earthly existence. It is there that we will find our true identity.
Yes, it is by means of those little things of our everyday existence that we are able to rise up to greater things, for they contain, in potentiality, those greater things. In the words of Saint-Exupéry, 'A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral,' and 'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.'
Saint-Exupéry would agree with the view of Professor John Anderson that any talk of the so-called transcendental must be stated in terms of the common reality we all know. Indeed, it cannot be stated in any other way, there being only one way of being, and one order or level of reality. True pluralism necessitates a complete denial of any conception of a universe or totality or total collection. Totality is simply a relation between container and contained – between whole and part.
Saint-Exupéry disappeared on a reconnaissance flight over the Mediterranean in July 1944. He was never seen again after he took off. His plane simply disappeared. He left behind the unfinished manuscript of Citadelle and some notebooks, which were published posthumously.