To Err is Human

Recently it has struck me that this quote, rather what it stands for, has become really pervasive and misused. By accepting this quotation, we’ve made imperfection part of the definition of being human. That’s sounds good when we want to not be hard on ourselves or be more forgiving, but there are negative results as well. If you believe that perfection is unachievable then you stop striving for it; you become complacent about your flaws and stop working to overcome them. So now when sadhus or preachers, parents or teachers tell you to work harder, to make improvements in your habits or lifestyle, you simply ignore them because they’re asking you to move towards a goal that is unattainable. Maybe worse is the fact that due to our belief that being human necessitates imperfection we cannot resist but strive to find the flaws in great people – to lower them from their heights so that we no longer have to keep them as role models. Put those two together and you get a society that devalues positive role models and is content in being mediocre-at-best.

This is a really dangerous situation for a spiritual aspirant and especially a Swaminarayan devotee. As Swaminarayan, God has told us that we are capable of perfection, indeed, that we must become perfect – for what is brahmrup stithi other than perfection? If we fall into the trap of thinking that it’s okay, normal, and part of the definition of human existence to make mistakes and keep imperfections we doing more than being soft on ourselves; we are saying that the mission God gave us, the ultimate principle (siddhant) of becoming Aksharrup and offering Purushottam true devotion is just a big gimic; it’s fake; it’s impossible; God is wrong; our Guru is wrong.

Maybe it’s time to reconsider “to err is human”…


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