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To Build a Ship

May 26, 2011

I’m thinking about my kids. Perhaps myself. The goad versus the goal, the push versus the pull.

Quand tu veux construire un bateau, ne commence pas par rassembler du bois, couper des planches et distribuer du travail, mais reveille au sein des hommes le desir de la mer grande et large.

If you want to build a ship, don’t begin by gathering wood, cutting the boards, and dividing the work; rather awaken in the men the desire for the vast and endless sea.

—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (attrib.)

NB: I don’t think there is an authoritative translation of this, so I found one I liked and tweaked it ever so slightly. Nothing’s perfect (XKCD).

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