“It was a dark night, with only occasional scattered lights glittering like stars on the plain. Each one, in that ocean of shadows, was a sign of the miracle of consciousness. In one home, people were reading, or thinking, or sharing confidences. In another, perhaps, they were searching through space, wearying themselves with the mathematics of the Andromeda nebula. In another they were making love. These small flames shone far apart in the landscape, demanding their fuel. Each one, in that ocean of shadows, was a sign of the miracle of consciousness … the flame of the poet, the teacher, or the carpenter. But among these living stars, how many closed windows, how many extinct stars, how many sleeping men …”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, writing about his first night-flight over Argentina in the prologue to Wind, Sand and Stars.