Only God is perfect.Eliot believed in the fallen state of 'man.'We can only aspire for a perfect state though we can never attain to it."to apprehendThe point of intersection of the timelessWith time, is an occupation for the saint—No occupation either, but something givenAnd taken, in a lifetime's death in love,Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.For most of us, there is only the unattendedMoment, the moment in and out of time,The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightningOr the waterfall, or music heard so deeplyThat it is not heard at all, but you are the musicWhile the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,Hints followed by guesses; and the restIs prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.Here the impossible unionOf spheres of existence is actual,Here the past and futureAre conquered, and reconciled,Where action were otherwise movementOf that which is only movedAnd has in it no source of movement—Driven by daemonic, chthonicPowers. And right action is freedomFrom past and future also.For most of us, this is the aimNever here to be realised;Who are only undefeatedBecause we have gone on trying;We, content at the lastIf our temporal reversion nourish(Not too far from the yew-tree)The life of significant soil."The closing lines here seem to vindicate Ken.Regards,CR
On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:The publication--and imminent publication of more--of Eliot's Letters and Complete Prose is transforming our understanding of the poetry as well as the life. And still a great deal is not going to be available or public for a long time. Gordon knows this material, including a lot that is not generally accessible, better than just about anyone (except maybe a few like Ron Schuchard and those who administer Eliot's estate). If she makes the term central, she would have reason.NancyOn Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 9:48 AM, Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> wrote:Some interesting observations in this address, CR. Too bad the old Eliot concordance isn't up on the Missouri site (it isn't, is it?), because I'd like to put the term "perfection" in for a search and see what comes up, if anything. Off the top of my imperfect head, I don't remember E using that term in the poetry. Can't pretend to have read all the voluminous prose. But whatever those results might be, I've never thought TSE was offering the presentation of an alternative life but trying to display instead the actual context of this life. Still, a good hook to ruminate on.
On 7/13/2016 9:18 AM, Chanan Mittal wrote:
Lyndall Gordon: Eliot's Search for Perfection
The first Eliot Memorial Lecture at the Royal Society of Literature on 27 February 2003: '“What Might Have Been and What Has Been”: Eliot's Search for Perfection'.