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Enough with perfection
Let me take a minute to be harsh on the old man. I will admit the irritation stems from his writing style:
Yeah, like that.
The sentiment is admirable but could he have said it with less grandiosity? Turn it down to 5 mister. If only this were an isolated passage, but the man holds forth upon high again and again. Like in his most famous poem (if only because I had to memorize it in school):
Let me out and say it: the poem sucks. It’s my bitterness from having to recite it religiously every morning for years, but Tagore’s sermonizing is tiring. Ok, maybe I am grasping it all wrong, reading it as a poem instead of listening to it as a song. Gitanjai 35 reminds me a little of these lyrics from the song of resistance “We Shall Overcome”
Clearly meant to be heard and sung, right? Is Tagore like that? Also, I have been told the translation is part of the problem (he did it himself); do his words sound more appealing in Bangla? Someone who reads T-man in the original please tell me.
Back to his admirable sentiments.
Quite the headmaster’s scolding. And in case the caning didn’t work the first time:
The cult of perfection in full flow.
Perfect harmony, like omniscience, is an image of perfection that admits no motion or change or history. The planet isn’t the unmoved mover and in order to grasp our life on it, we need a much more dynamic view of harmony and the human place in the world.
With the collapse of both the cult of the best and the cult of the better (see yesterday’s essay), I don’t put any faith in BEING aka the unmoved mover, and Being, aka the human being, the prophet of betterment. In a related but distinct development, I am having an allergic reaction to all the stars who have guided me until now — Gandhi and Tagore figure in that constellation.